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In The Spirit Of Nelson Mandela And Desmond Tutu, Malcolm Du Plessis And Tommy Sims Partner With Common Hymnal To Deliver Gravitas LP, Songs Of Change And Love

Endorsed by Nontombi Tutu, the album’s third single “Not Gonna Worry” — featuring Kenyan artist Kanjii Mbugua — is out now at DSPs, following “God Of Color” and “Rise Up”

Malcolm Du Plessis And Tommy Sims Partner With Common Hymnal To Deliver 'Gravitas' LP

‘Gravitas’ album art painted by Cameroonian artist, Ronald Abdou

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NEWS SOURCE: Shore Fire Media
May 6, 2024

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 6, 2024) Common Hymnal, an online platform and outlet for creatives on the outermost margins of the Christian faith, today announces the release of “Not Gonna Worry,” the third single off its forthcoming album, Gravitas

Founded in 2018 by anti-apartheid activist Malcolm du Plessis in the spirit of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, Common Hymnal is the new generation of a project du Plessis instigated in apartheid South Africa during the five years leading up to Mandela's release from prison. Assembling a multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural community of writers and artists that fused praise and protest, the group performed shows all over the country, assuming a public role in the anti-apartheid movement.

“Music played a pivotal role in the South African liberation struggle. It was called a ‘weapon of the struggle,” says du Plessis. “In other words, ‘The song had become the organizer.’ We had songs for every situation — songs to protest the injustices, songs to comfort those crushed by the system, songs to embolden the courageous, and so on. The cry for freedom was embedded in our musical culture. The work was hard but music kept us all going.”

“The impetus for Common Hymnal started taking shape after the Ferguson uprising when I started feeling like I had moved from one South Africa to another, and there was important work to be done. It was then that I realized the shortage of music that spoke into the pursuit of justice in the American landscape. In this regard, Common Hymnal was created as a virtual hymnbook to help people navigate these uncertain times.”

Not Gonna Worry” features the vocals of Kenyan artist Kanjii Mbugua and follows the release of the Gravitas’ debut single “God Of Color” (a celebration of the melanated Christ, released in February for Black History Month), and second track “Rise Up,” which bowed April 5th.

Veteran songwriter and musician Tommy Sims (Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Toni Braxton, Michael Bolton, Amy Grant, Kelly Clarkson), who co-produced “Not Gonna Worry,” says, “I knew this song was record material upon first hearing Common Hymnal rock it live a few months ago. Grateful and thrilled that we all get to share it now. Common Hymnal is where I hope the future of music resides. That’s why I’m here. I hope what they bring to the conversation is what got you here as well. Feel free to talk back.”

Nontombi Tutu, daughter of the late Desmond Tutu, embraces Common Hymnal’s intentions of activism by way of love and peace. “Common Hymnal is that space and community that reminds us that our faith needs to be lived fully in the world,” she says. “When I listen to their songs of Praise and Protest, I am transported back to South Africa and the struggle days against apartheid. Our songs in and outside church proclaimed to the world that we are children of a Loving God who wanted us all to be free.”

Stream/download “Not Gonna Worry” here. Watch the music video here.

About Common Hymnal:
Common Hymnal is an online platform that was established five years ago as an outlet for creatives on the outermost margins of the Christian faith. One of the consequences of the dramatic shifts in culture in recent years is the displacement of a generation of gifted artists and thinkers who are writing songs and telling stories that do not fit the religious industrial complex. In making a home for these people, Common Hymnal has been able to curate an intriguing catalog of music that centers life, justice and underground spirituality, covering a wide range of subject matter in a broad range of styles. As such, Common Hymnal has recorded and released a fresh collection of songs each year since its inception. All the while, the clamor for this music to be brought into live spaces has been on the increase. The ecosystem is full of dynamic performers, and different combos of artists are traveling out to do shows on a regular basis. Because of the intentionality of the lyrics, the project has gained significant traction in the justice movement. The aspiration is to become more and more a part of the zeitgeist of the culture at large.

This year’s release, Gravitas, is Common Hymnal’s most ambitious recording so far. “Not Gonna Worry,” the third single, debuted Friday, May 3. It features the beloved Kenyan artist, Kanjii Mbugua, and was produced by newcomers, Seaux Chill and Vincent Charlow, and quarterbacked by veteran Tommy Sims, who fell in love with the project when he stumbled on it last year.

Follow Common Hymnal at @commonhymnal on all platforms.


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