Sharing the faith through song

  • May 23, 2008

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Putting his personal and spiritual reflections to music once again, Joe Zambon successfully released his second CD, You Are I Am.

Several months went into recording and editing the 13 tracks, which Zambon, a 22-year-old from Iroquois, Ont., describes as “reflective.”

“Usually I’m writing from something that’s personal and intimate to me,” he said. “It was very hard for me to share my music at the beginning because it was so intimate, but now I look at it as a nakedness without shame.”

Besides selling a few hundred copies out of his house since the release party March 1, Zambon also set up sales in May through Salem Storehouse, a large Christian book and music store in Ottawa.

Zambon’s earthy-acoustic recording offers a slightly less praise-like feel than his first CD which was released in 2005, and he does not consider it praise and worship style music. But people could still use it for personal reflection and to be present in the moment.

While the tracks on his CD are unique, so was the recording studio he set up in the basement of his Ottawa home.

“We recorded the guitar music in a mattress fort in my basement — seven mattresses and 14 blankets — it would have been like the ultimate fort if you were a kid,” he said.

Zambon produced You Are I Am with the help of Massive Worship, an initiative of NET (National Evangelization Teams) Ministries of Canada which was created to help young emerging Catholic musicians.

Although the shoestring budget makes for an interesting production process, Zambon said he is glad the product turned out well and reflects his true performance.

“I don’t like it if it’s fabricated and too perfect,” he said. “This way it draws you in more.”

The spiritual flavour of Zambon’s music comes from a variety of sources.

He is a well-known worship leader in Ottawa who helps to train other musicians and youth leaders through the yearly Massive Worship Conference and other workshops.

He served on a parish team in North Bay with NET Ministries for a year and spent another year with NET spreading the Gospel message to youth in Ireland. For the past two years he has been studying theology at Dominican College in Ottawa.

However, he pins his spiritual fervour on a strong Catholic upbringing and life on the family farm with his two brothers, parents and grandmother, where he learned an appreciation for faith and the “simple life.”

His parents, who met in Ethiopia as missionaries, provided a strong background in living an active faith.

“The idea of chasing riches wasn’t there,” he said. “I grew up with my parents talking about their experiences in Ethiopia and they instilled in me an appreciation for simplicity and using your faith to make a difference in the world.”

Zambon said this is a driving force behind his mission to use his love for music to inspire others.

Each song from his CD is a reflection on situations that he has experienced and challenges overcome, but where he has seen God working throughout.

“The interesting thing I find is that I may be writing to myself but I know that there is usually a universal experience — maybe not exactly the way I’ve experienced it — but people can always say they’ve... been let down in relationships, they’ve had doubts, they’ve had sin, they’ve had joy and they have reasons to be thankful,” he said.

Zambon said the music ministers to himself as much as it does to others, because in the end it’s not about the music but about drawing close to God, a message he continues to share with others, often through Catholic events.

“It’s been really good through NET. They’ve been an avenue to touch on a number of people,” he said.

On May 31, Zambon was scheduled to visit Merciful Redeemer parish in Mississauga for its Extreme Lifeteen event.

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