Share the Well
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2004 1 Oct
- Share the Well
- There's Only One (Holy One)
- Jenny Farza
- Mother India
- International Love Song
- All I Need (I Did Not Catch Her Name)
- Los Hermanos count off
- The Roses
- Mirzapur Group
- Bombay Rain
- The Innocent's Corner
- Punjabi Group with Dr. Joseph D'Souza
- Wings of the Morning
- Dalit Hymn
In their 12-year history as a band, Caedmon's Call has been a strong supporter of international ministries like Compassion International and India's Peace Gospel Ministries. And, like many artists, they've taken some foreign missions trips. But few have incorporated their passion for world missions into an album as Caedmon's has on the self-produced
The band packed up their recording gear and traveled to Brazil, Ecuador, and most notably India, where they joined the Dalit Freedom Network in ministering to the oppressed bottom-rung caste of North Indian society. India's Dalits, who outnumber the total U.S. population, aren't even permitted to drink from wells until an upper-caste person draws water for them. There's naturally a spiritual metaphor to be gleaned from this stark image, inspiring the album's title. Is it any wonder that the band members consider this their most important album?
The resulting songs are a natural hybrid of the band's familiar folk pop/rock with the sounds and styles of the countries they visited; some of the musicians the band met are in fact touring with Caedmon's in the U.S. this fall. One of the best examples of this hybrid is found on the first single, "There's Only One (Holy One)." It's good-but-typical folk pop, reminiscent of "Before There Was Time" or "Coming Home," until the Brazilian drum team kicks in partway through. In a word,
Comparisons to Paul Simon's acclaimed Africa-meets-West classic
Though colored heavily with an array of ethnic instrumentation, the songs are thoroughly Western pop at the core. In the inspired "Wings of the Morning," there's an interesting interplay between minor-sounding traditional Indian Bhangra music and the major Western pop style, effectively contrasting doubt and hope. "International Love Song" is sparsely instrumented with just acoustic guitars and Indian tablas, demonstrating how the varying cultures are not that different in the relentless pursuit of love and peace. The closing "Dalit Hymn" is like an Indian folk protest song, boldly pleading for the Prime Minister to free the untouchables and expose the caste system as a lie that flies in the face of God's Word.
The band's last effort, 2003's
The album's only shortcoming is the handful of incidental tracks interspersed between songs—recorded snippets of musicians and people encountered from the trip. They add to the atmosphere, but they don't add substance and ultimately end up distracting more than enhancing. It would have helped if the context of these interludes were made clearer with more poignant emotional resonance or even humor. Still, this is one of the best from Caedmon's Call and 2004 overall—an intelligent, heartfelt, musically diverse, and eye-opening album unique to the band's sound and experiences, challenging Christians to become active in the world around them.