What is the true meaning of Christmas? Koiné presents the answer in its latest album, Anno Domini, and the answer is Jesus. Anno Domini, which in Latin means “Year of our Lord,” is a modern take on classic hymns that pronounce the birth of Jesus Christ. “Many of the hymns are arrangements taken from our Christmas services. Christmas songs are some of the greatest songs ever written,” says lead singer Brian Davison. “These songs tell us about the greatest story ever told--the true story that Jesus left heaven to be with us, lived a perfect life for us, and then was willing to suffer and die for us. That's an amazing love.”
Koiné offers intense respect for Church art and excellence in modern instrumentation. “We often joke that we have a very talented writing staff,” shares guitarist Benj Lawrenz (in reference to the old hymn writers). “There’s a reason why these songs have been worship staples for hundreds of years, and it’s exciting that we get to play a part in keeping these songs alive and introducing them to a whole new audience.” Koiné features the vocal talents of Brian Davison and Tracy Fedke who together find a unique balance between the familiarity of the classic hymn melodies and the raw instrumentation of the new arrangements.
It’s nothing new in Christian music for traditional songs to be re-shaped by the influences of culture and time. But perhaps it’s the way Koiné is combining century-old hymns with a modern accompaniment that is causing people everywhere to take notice of what some in Milwaukee have known for years. Imagine a 1200 year old text and a 600 year old melody, married with a Les Paul, Steinway piano, drums and electric bass. In Anno Domini
Anno Domini features arrangements of much-loved Christmas classics like, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night! Holy Night, Joy to the World, and O Holy Night, as well as some lesser known titles like Once in Royal David's City, and Behold a Branch is Growing. Koiné also includes a modern classic Mary Did You Know? With the Christmas season upon us, Koiné’s most recent release is just in time to be shared with those who love to hear the saving message of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection in song. Anno Domini is intended to be the first installment of what will eventually be a two album project. Drummer Seth Kock comments, “Great hymn writers always include Jesus’ purpose so that when we celebrate events like Christmas, it’s not just about a baby in a manger but about God-himself offering his life for the sins of the whole world.”
Originally formed in 2003 as a worship band, Koiné quickly, and quite unexpectedly, began to gain a grassroots following as requests for appearances and sales of their first album, Koiné (Self-Titled) started to roll in. “It was really a surprise to us,” according to lead vocalist Brian Davison. “Originally, we intended for the album to be just a personal record of what we were doing…just for fun. But when people started asking for them and offering to buy them, we began to invest more time and energy into this project.”
Since that time, local events turned into regional tours, and now Koiné travels the United States and Canada sharing their unique music ministry. Koiné has truly found a niche for themselves. Much of their music already has a welcome home in traditional worship, but with a contemporary sound that anyone can identify with.
For the month of December Koiné can be found playing their Christmas music at special services around the Midwest. Koiné's piano player, Seth Bauer, notes, “These special services are probably best described as 'musical narratives.' We get to share the true story of Jesus’ birth with others using Scripture, music, and visual art.”
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