A friend of mine introduced me to the Australia-based Sons of Korah about a year ago.
With an alt-folk sound influenced by world beats, the Sons of Korah are Matt Jacoby (lead vocals, guitar), Jayden Lee (resonator, mandolin, nylon guitar, glissentar, harmony vocals and some lead vocals), Mike Avery (bass), and Rod Wilson (percussion and drums). well, that’s who they used to be, but Jayden Lee has left the group to pursue ministry in different areas. Click here for a string quartet piece, Caroline’s Processional, which he composed for his wife.
The Sons of Korah have made the Psalms their focus. As stated on their website, “With their unique acoustic, multi-ethnic sound Sons of Korah have achieved an intriguing re-creation of the musical drama of the psalms. Sons of Korah have put the Word of God and music together in a dynamic and captivating way in order to lead their listeners into an impacting encounter with the heart of the bible.”
Why the Psalms? Read on.
Sons of Korah believe that the psalms contain a particularly pertinent message for today. They are the supreme biblical portrayal of the spiritual life in all its facets and dynamics. They speak powerfully to a postmodern world that is generally more interested in what the biblical faith looks like from the inside than its abstract doctrinal expression. And for the church today the psalms present a compelling challenge to the often one-dimensional and romanticized spirituality that we find it so hard to move beyond. The psalms portray a rich, multifaceted and real spirituality.
And why the name “Sons of Korah?” The explanation is long but really good:
The story of the Sons of Korah is a wonderful story of God’s grace. In the Old Testament text of the Psalms reference is made to those who were involved in the composition of the psalms. Psalms 42 to 49 as well as Psalms 84 to 88 are attributed to a group known as the “Sons of Korah” (see the small print titles under the numbers of the psalms). It appears that this family of musicians were descendants of the same Korah who led a rebellion against Moses in the desert (Numbers 16). This was a serious crime that led to serious consequences for all those involved. We read that God caused the ground to open up and swallow all those who were involved in the rebellion along with their families (vs31ff). The idea of a judgement like this that involved the wiping out of the rebels as well as their families was that the line of the rebellious should not continue in the earth. It is therefore quite surprising that in Numbers 26:11 we read the words: “The line of Korah, however, did not die out.” And sure enough as we follow the genealogies through Chronicles we see that that the line of Korah did indeed continue. According to 1Chronicles 6:31ff, David, when he was organising the different tasks for the temple worship, assigned the ministry of song for a large part to the Kohathites. The head of this group was Heman who is the writer of Psalm 88 and more significantly is direct a descendant of Korah the Kohathite. Hence the psalm is also attributed to the Sons of Korah. It seems that at some point this musical family came to be called after their rebellious forefather. Korah was an infamous historical figure in the Israelite consciousness, remembered as an example of rebellion against God. To be related to him would have been a notable thing, though not necessarily a negative thing. The continuing existence of this family line was a testimony to the grace of God who. although he would be right to wipe out the memory of sinful men from the earth, is nevertheless forgiving and whose heart is always for restoration and redemption rather than for destruction. The Sons of Korah were therefore a living testimony to God’s grace. They certainly had much to sing about. We feel the same way.
The group’s music style isn’t one of my favorites, but they’re very solid musicians with a lot of creativity and variety to the songs. What I really love about them is their heart to bring the Psalms to a modern audience, without glossing over any of the challenging portions. They’ve done a really phenomenal job of transferring the words of the Psalms into modern songs.
Here are two of my favorites by the Sons of Korah:
Note: All MP3s will be removed after one week