I went through an interesting process while arranging this one. I wanted it to be unique, but I mostly wanted it to have meaning to both me and my son, who picked this song. I went through A LOT of different ways to approach it but nothing felt exactly right. I had settled on doing a “It’s a Small World” version of it where each verse was a different style from around the world. But it ultimately felt cheesy.
A little background info: I served my mission in Belém, Brazil (yes, I know it’s really spelled with an ‘s’ but this blog is in English and spellcheck is annoying me – so we’ll stick with the ‘z’) and a member there first taught me how to play the Brazilian style Bossa Nova. He helped me to arranged a version of Master the Tempest is Raging (I think he mostly arranged it) but it was fun playing with the odd rhythms and chord structures of Bossa Nova.
So after I had decided on the multi-style arrangement, I was talking about it with my good friend Dan (who served in Rio de Janeiro) and he suggested I just stick with Bossa Nova. It was then that it clicked and almost the entire arrangement came instantly. I knew immediately the kind of progression I wanted to do and that I should add a verse of I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go. (Adding another hymn in there was a must. I Hope They Call Me on a Mission is too short on it’s own.) So a big thanks to Dan for his suggestion.
Until…………… I realized I’d have to sing it.
Bossa Nova is unique because of it’s rhythms and use of colorful chords. It works well for melodies that are arranged in the Bossa Nova style. But I didn’t want to change the melody of this song, just the chords underneath it to give it more color. The problem is that most of the time in this song, those notes were a half step away from each other. And the guitar isn’t a piano. To play them both would mean doing it on different strings with a huge stretch on the fingering. It ultimately was too much for me.
The only way to play them both was to play one and sing the other. Ugh.
This will most likely be the only arrangement that I sing on. There are already tons of versions of the hymns done by people singing and playing the guitar. I want the arrangements for Mormon Guitar to be unique, while not inappropriate or weird. My hope is to bring out new meanings for each of the hymns.
I feel like I accomplished that with this one, which is a new feeling. I always think there is more that I could do. But for this one, I can’t help but be transported back to Brazil and being surrounded by some of the most kind-hearted and warm people I’ve ever met. So for me, that means it’s perfect.