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While her youngest daughter was asleep in the pushchair, and a few days into lockdown my sister-in-law Hannah [a gifted singer-songwriter] had a song idea while prayer-walking around one of the beautiful lakes at Ashburnham Place. [She is one of the directors there].
“I love speaking the name Jehovah Rophe. It is a cry for the whole of the world that is suffering at the moment”.
Hannah had previously contracted coronavirus and understands the panic of not being able to breathe freely.
“Jehovah Rophe is a prayer that the ‘easy breathing’ of the breath of God would come and fill the lungs of everyone infected”.
“I’d love to write this song with you and Carey in these crazy times…”
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The simple prayer chorus of Hannah’s initial ideas was standout for Carey and I: ‘Jehovah Rophe breathe…’
So the collaboration across the miles + social distancing began:
- We exchanged lyric ideas over a few days [what did we really want to say?]
- tweaked melodies [to reflect the prayer, simplicity and space was our aim, rather than include lots of busy ideas] and
- we tried out a few different vocal harmonies [we preferred block harmonies to match the beautiful simplicity of the melodic lines]
One of my favourite bits of the process was when Carey happened to be playing a rising piano phrase and then I sang the verse melody a few beats early. Through that happy ‘accident’ the rising chords riff of the intro was composed.
With the joint production skills of Carey and Ayd [Hannah’s husband] and using layered voices from some of the volunteers in the Ashburnham community, Jehovah Rophe took shape.
We offer this as a prayer in these days.
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It’s not always easy to say what we mean is it?
But sometimes checking in with a friend or someone else in your family might be the very thing that unlocks the prayer, the song, helps articulate the joy, or express the anxiety more fully for each of us.
‘A song for these crazy times’ as Hannah said.
You may find it helpful to pray or sing through the chorus with us:
Jehovah Rophe, come
Jehovah Rophe, heal
Jehovah Rophe, breathe
Jehovah Rophe, please