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Rev. Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes and website link.
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"Rev. Yoland'a Country Gospel Kirtan" 
CD Review
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"Rev. Yolanda's Country Gospel Kirtan" CD cover and website link.
 CD Review 
 "Rev. Yolanda's Country Gospel Kirtan
 by Rev. Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes 
 Reviewer - Len Rogers

      "Rev. Yolanda's Country Gospel Kirtan" is NOT your grandfather's Gospel music. Not even your father's Gospel music. It is a brand new Gospel music experience with power, spirit, humor, and above all life! Not since the days of the Singing Nun has the Gospel music genre seen the likes of Rev. Yolanda. Not that the two have anything in common when it comes to sound and energy. However they both are genre trend setters. Taking spiritual music to a brave new and exciting world. Just as the Singing Nun was a new image, and new message, so is Rev. Yolanda.  

     The difference is all in the delivery, message, and sound. Rev. Yolanda includes something rarely seen in Gospel or spirituality from my view, that being humor. As humor directly relates to happiness it seems a logical jump if one is to be happy with their spirituality. Combine all this with a deep and kind of growling vocal delivery and you have an experience all new, all exciting, and all Rev. Yolanda!

     I like Gospel music to have bite, to move me. And Rev. Yolanda certainly does that and a bit more. In this album, "Rev. Yolanda's Country Gospel Kirtan", the Rev also brings a classical touch with the  inclusion of Kirtan. According to Bhakti Club, ( Kirtan is a form of devotional chanting whose roots go back over 500 years to India. It is a form of Bhakti Yoga (yoga of devotion) and has the power to open the heart. The singing is accompanied by musical instruments and rhythmic drumming and the audience is encouraged to participate by chanting, clapping and dancing. Although this recovered Catholic also sees some similarity between Kirtan and Gregorian Chant. Both help focus and bring concentration to spiritual and emotional moments.

     I would be lax in not pointing out that Rev. Yolanda has little trouble keeping you focused, energized, and involved. So the use of Kirtan is another musical tool to create a mystique and spiritual sense of being. I have found very helpful when not either in sound or presence of this dynamic Gospellier. The inclusion of country roots in Rev Yolanda's music takes you another step further into a warm but lively embrace of infectious spiritual experience. Don't be misled or fooled by the humor and tools utilized by Rev. Yolanda in his presentation and musical delivery. This Rev. is 100% serious about the spiritual connectivity, message, and value of the music. The persona of Rev. Yolanda is yet a deeper plunge into what I would call spiritual honesty and integrity.

      Rev. Yolanda seeks to bring the message of all inclusive, all welcome and all affirming to his Gospel music experience. As well as his 'ministry'. Through the use of highly visible character presentation, costuming, and gender-bending persona Rev. Yolanda envelopes you in an all encompassing and compelling experience. Whether live or via the heavily packed, "Rev. Yolanda's Country Gospel Kirtan" CD you will be completely in tune and entranced with the experience, spirituality, and messages the Rev delivers. Those messages being; happiness, acceptance, and focus. Yes all that is just a CD? With Rev. Yolanda it is not only possible but fact. This listener was and is moved, lifted, delivered, and completely satisfied musically, spiritually, and content. 

Len Rogers
StoneWall Society

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