"The Bible exhorts us to sing the Lord's praise with all our hearts. We find that Rock is a good way to do it."
It cannot be denied that Africa is the last frontier for metal, even if you threw The Caribbean and Oceania into that mix, Africa will still be last in line. Having said that, there is really glowing potential for the continent's metal music, OK it's a given that South Africa has been there ages ago, but elsewhere; even in the North, metal is waking up in Africa. We've seen bands from Botswana to Egypt play in Europe and establish their scenes, but what about the West, Central and East? Well for the East, the likes of Ethiopia are waking up, but a vast swathe are ahead. Central Africa? Behind their Eastern counterparts, scenes emerging in Gabon, Cameroon and Angola. West Africa? Here we are last in line, sure Nigeria and Togo are leading the West African segment but it's the slowest to build, joining the effort is Mali's first ever metal band, Shine.
Shine are a Gospel Metal band i.e. they play heavy music but lyrics are based on Christianity and the like, not that religion and metal hasn't combined together before (think Singapore's Rudra and their extreme metal + Hinduism combination, Indonesia's Tengkorak who incorporate Islamic influences), after all music is a beautiful thing and offers itself as a platform to sing about whatever topic you wish to (some however are too extreme, use your imagination).
GMA spoke to Shine about their origins, how religion plays a part in their music and what it's like being the first official metal band from Mali.
For those who have not heard of Shine, could you give us a brief history of the band and how you came up with the band name?
"Shine is a band created by young teenagers in 2008, we had at heart since that time to serve God through our talents."
By playing Gospel Rock / Metal, do you feel that through music, positivity can be spread in many ways including religion?
"Yes we play Gospel Rock / Metal music to share the love and hope that we live through our relationship with God, it is not boring for us but filled with life, joy and victory in the face of storms of life. For us music is a way to also share positivity with others."
How did you first get into playing your instruments? Are any of your family members musicians?
"Being friends for a long time, the acoustic guitar was our hobby, we learned from each other, each had their own way of playing. Some of us had musician parents, but what we had in common was our passion for praise and worship."
There is this on going argument that metal music is somehow Satanic, could you give us your perspective on Heavy Metal?
"We know that Satan is not a creator, he did not create music, he is a thief. The Bible says: The thief only comes to steal, slaughter and destroy; I have come so that the sheep may have life and be abundant. John 10:10.
God is the creator of this beautiful science / art which is music, it is a gift which comes from God and it is a means of expressing ourselves. Satan can seduce people to divert music to do awful things, it is a pity. But we have to understand that the music comes from God. It all depends on what man puts in it. Some people put the worship of Satan inside but in our group, we chose to put the worship of God inside, it is full of life, joy, energy. If for Men what we do is classified in the Rock / Metal category, it is not a problem.
The essence is that our goal has not changed, our message no longer has not changed. We proclaim love, deliverance, praise and worship. In addition, the Bible exhorts us to sing the Lord's praise with all our hearts. We find that Rock is a good way to do it. We find that Rock is a good way to do it and in a fervent way."
What are the challenges of being a rock / metal band in Mali? What is the public perception of this music?
"The challenge is to make this music speak to the Malian people. Mali is culturally and musically very rich. The challenge is also to provide a good mix between our Malian musical universe and the other genres of music that are part of our musical background like Rock. The perception of Rock / Metal music that we make is good, most of the time, people sing and dance with us with joy and strength. They are reassured by the words we sing. Others are surprised to see young Malians making this music without having tattoos and piercings."
For fans of rock and metal music, what sights or attractions could you recommend in Bamako?
"Here in Mali we don't have a specific site for Rock / Metal music. When our group is invited somewhere, if time permits, we play it. Very often the group is invited to churches and gospel concerts in the city of Bamako."
What plans does Shine have for late 2020 and going into early 2021?
"Shine is working on an album, this album promises to be rich and varied, it is filled with the first songs that we composed since the group started when we were younger. Other songs are also more recent from our experiences with God. For the moment this is our project and also continue to put our talents at the service of other artists in the country by the arrangement of their music."
Do you have any greetings or thanks you wish to send out to friends, family, fans etc?
"We salute Mali, our country that we love so much and all those who for years have encouraged us in what we do. We thank our families who supported the start of the group when we didn't know where to rehearse until we got there. Thank to the churches who opened their doors to us and accepted us. We are thankful to God without whom we are lost and we are nothing."