THE Revival church has played an understated role in Jamaican culture. Its pulsating rhythms, steeped in Africa, can be heard in mento and dancehall music.
Sister Bless grew up in the Revival movement in Spanish Town, and although she has lived in the United States for some time she never lost touch with its sound and message. She makes her recording debut with Crossover, a song produced by George "Brotha George" Wright, a veteran of the tri-state gospel scene.
He heard Sister Bless singing at Source Of Life Church Of God in Mount Vernon and was impressed by her vocals. When he offered to record her, she admits there were "mixed feelings".
Once the butterflies in her stomach cleared, however, Sister Bless recorded Crossover which salutes her Revival roots. It has seasoned musicians such as Sidney Mills and Franklin "Bubbler" Waul on keyboards, and Lebert "Gibby" Morrison playing bass.
Sister Bless (real name Denise Daley-Witter) says she had musical aspirations since living in Jamaica but never got around to recording until her recent chance meeting with Brotha George. "My first time entering the studio, I was excited and a little nervous. But, it's like a dream come true," she stated.
Members of the Revival church were once scorned by conventional colleagues as "wrap head" or disciples of pocomania. The movement has maintained a loyal following and in recent years its distinct rhythms have produced classic songs such as Sister Scully's Hurry Up, as well as I am Blessed by Mr Vegas and Bun Bad Mind by Elephant Man.
— Howard Campbell
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