Ring the bell!

It’s an old Spiritual Baptist chant first echoed in mainstream media by rapso artiste Brother Resistance (Lutalo Masimba) in 1986. A call that evokes power. And a sound that heralds celebration.

Soca star Shurwayne Winchester has once again brought the clank-clank of metal on hollowed steel to the fore, with his newly released collaboration, “Ring The Bell”, featuring producer/singer DNyce (Dike Peters).

Together they hope to conjure a new level of optimism and gratitude that can lift the spirits of the nation, the region and the world at large.

He sings: Is God who lift me over/He who push me over/All the stumbling blocks ah face/And help me cross the rivers/Is God who Lift me Over/He who pull me Over/No matter what I’ll get through/He go turn it over/So ring the bell.

“We wanted to say thanks for everything. Thanks for keeping our country together because it could have been worse, far worse. Then we ask for more protection from God because we need it. We wish to remind ourselves to have confidence and faith,” Winchester told the Express over WhatsApp on Wednesday night.

Bringing God into the zess

Winchester’s bell chimes atop the popular sound of the day: zess music. He says the track, which is featured on the NyceNation produced Bounce It Riddim, is “organic and positive”, and possesses an “undeniable” quality.

“A sweet melody activates a response. The type of response is determined by the lyrical content. Now the question is: what do you want to say and why?” Winchester asked. The “Dead or Alive” singer said too many people are influenced by an unrealistic depiction of life they see glorified on social media. The belief is songs that mention God are seen as being soft, he said.

“You have few DJs who can draw and buss a positive song. If you hear a selector play and endorse a track like that on urban radio, that DJ is confident in themselves and their ability, it resonates with them in some way. It may be an incident in their life, or they know that everything they have and they’re able to do is because of the blessings given to them. Otherwise, it’s much easier and safer for a DJ to follow what others play,” he lamented.

Winchester hopes to change popular opinion on gospel music by showing not only is there a space for the genre in street culture, but it can have a direct positive impact on the lives of those who may not typically listen.

“Our hope is that a smile will replace tears, peace will fill the hole of turmoil, joy replace so many filled with sorrow, faith will shine over doubts, and many be reminded now more than ever that they are not alone.

“Don’t believe this pandemic won, because it has not and will not. Ring the bell and let those blinded by despair hear a song that offers hope and builds faith to carry on, to take that next step. The burden that appears unbearable lightens with a lift, a push or a pull,” he said.

When God is with you

Winchester said he had a clear indication he was on the right path when every obstacle towards completing “Ring The Bell” miraculously disappeared. Even shooting the music video with director Antonio Achee, within the confines of the pandemic restrictions, proved a straightforward task, he said.

“It was amazing every time. Something came up that could stop our progress it would disappear the same way it came. It also brought a peace of mind and refreshed attitude knowing you were saying something worth saying.

“Positive vibes in a time where the mere mention of God puts you and that song in the ‘unpopular box’, yet the reward and satisfaction is worth it all.

“We were surprised to learn many felt the same way as we did. We are thankful for the comments and reaction to the song. I truly enjoyed every moment of this project,” he concluded.

Catch Shurwayne Winchester on his live Instagram show, Liming With Shurwayne, every Sunday at 6 p.m.

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