*International and acclaimed Choir Director Chantel R. Wright has released a new CD project on LeChateau Earl Records. The six-song EP, Chantel R. Wright Presents Pneumatica: All We Need was released on Friday, June 28th.
Produced by Wright and group member Orson Benjamin, who co-wrote all the songs on the project, the EP features music by the new nine-piece vocal ensemble Pneumatica – an inspired youth-group off-shoot of her 60-member choir Songs of Solomon, also founded by Wright. All We Need is available on iTunes and Amazon, and other digital music platforms worldwide.
“Our name Pneumatica stems from the Greek root pneuma which means ‘wind’ or ‘breath,’ and in spiritual terms represents the soul of God,” explains Wright. “Pneuma Ministries is our church and Pneumatica is the name of our group: two sopranos, two altos, two tenors, two basses, and me. Every word that comes out of our mouths is birthed from prayer, supplication, and humility – messages that will help people heal, mend fences in their family and come back to the Lord. The question that is ever on our spirits is: What kind of sound can we put out into the world that is sure to be a blessing?”
The vocal ensemble includes Orson Benjamin, Nia Gaines-Greenwood, Richard Sullivan, Jr., Yeshak A. Pellot, Yvette Benjamin, Alicia J. Etienne, Jamar Johnson and Faith Smith, who are also members of Pneuma Ministries.
For the group’s inaugural recording, Wright has partnered with the owners of LeChateau Earl Records, Damien L. Sneed and Bishop Iona Locke, who have previously worked with Wright and shared many years in music and ministry.
“On behalf of LeChateau Earl Records, we are excited that we signed Chantel Wright and Pneumatica to our label,” says Sneed, President and CEO. “The lyrics, music, and sincerity found on their debut project, ‘All We Need’ is sure to be a blessing to everyone who hears it for years to come.”
All We Need offers a youth-targeted musical church experience that is socially purposed, lyrically illuminating, musically stimulating, and sensationally scintillating. The lead single, “The One Who Endures,” was first presented at Carnegie Hall in April of 2018 as part of the renowned venue’s “Our Voices” series. Featuring Wright and group member Nia Gaines-Greenwood, the song is buoyed by funky drums, fervent organ and slick picking guitar over jazzy chord changes reminiscent of The O’Jays’ classic “Family Reunion.”
The album’s title track, “All We Need,” is straight up church –reflecting soaring joy and reverence to the Lord – while “Yahweh” is a punchy pop rocker of praise and worship, featuring Yeshack Pellot, full of fiery guitar and Bible references. “All you need is love, community, compassion and family,” Wright shares. “Those songs are about the joy of being in His presence and the spirit of being in worship.”
On the softer side, “You Reign” floats on dreamy piano, guitar and the timeless Christian sentiment of “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Along with the strong male lead of Richard Sullivan, there is a powerful operatic turn from Alicia Etienne. Also tender is the socially inclusive “Image,” a timely message that blossomed out of observations of conversations on school campuses centered on gender.
“There seemed to be a bit of confusion about this,” Wright remembers. “When we were growing up, you were either a boy or a girl. So, we began to look at what all of that conversation meant. Going back to scripture, the Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God. Does that take away your identity? Absolutely not. This is our expression of what we believe.”
All We Need comes to a mighty close with “Say You Believe,” a song that begins as a lilting piano ballad then morphs into a rock anthem featuring Orson Benjamin and Jamar Johnson with narration by Wright. Wright and Benjamin composed “Say You Believe” for director Sonia Lowman’s bracing documentary “Black Boy” which deals with young African American males from adolescence to teen years to their early ‘20s, detailing their experiences with and perspectives about our country’s shameful pipeline to the prison system for young people of color.
Wright’s love for young people led her to become actively involved in secured detention centers in the New York area and to continue to work with Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections project for youth in detention centers. Often found at the table when conversations that shape viable outcomes for the underserved and justice system-involved take place, Wright has worked tirelessly to expand the reach of her programs. Speaking to the equally weighty issue of immigrant detention centers, Wright elucidates, “I’m fighting for people to hear what I have to say so we can take care of those that are in bondage. We who are free have to make sure they get out as well.”
ABOUT CHANTEL R. WRIGHT
Chantel R. Wright is one of the most gifted, experienced, learned and anointed ministers of music blessing the world today. As a pastor, award-winning choral conductor, orchestral conductor, educator, community activist and spiritual advisor operating out of her home base of New York City, Chantel Wright has traveled to many parts of the world spreading God’s loving messages, the joy of music and the audacity of hope.
Wright was consecrated as a Bishop in the Lord’s Church known as Christ Centered Ministries Assembly (CCMA), and is given episcopal charge over Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Utah. Wright is a Choral Union president of the Thomas Dorsey National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, where she is on the national board of directors. She can also be found on WLIB-AM as the host of “The Hour of Power.” She is a recipient of The New York Times Teachers Who Matters Most Award, among numerous other awards and honors.