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Voices only: ‘They Cried Out to the Lord’

Russian composer's latest is a message of hope in a time of darkness.

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Welcome to Voices-only, your source for great a cappella.

“They Cried Out to the Lord” is a hymn originally written by Konstantin Zhigulin in Russian with English text by Brad Cawyer. The hymn is based on Psalm 107. We’ve featured Zhigulin, a Russian Christian composer, and his Psalom ministry over the years. This new recording by Vocal Tapestry ensemble is part of the Timeless Psalter Project, which produces contemporary songs using the ancient Psalms.

Baptisms in the Black Sea : Konstantin Zhigulin, a church member in St. Petersburg, Russia, leads singing at the Crimea conference. | PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD

Konstantin Zhigulin, a member of a Church of Christ in St. Petersburg, Russia, leads singing at a 2011 evangelistic conference led by Sasha Prokopchuk in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

Here’s the “score presentation” version of the song where you can see the music and hear the vocal parts.

The words come from Psalm 107, which begins, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” That likely brings to mind the upbeat Chris Tomlin song “Forever,” but the rest of the Psalm sets a more somber tone. Here’s one excerpt:

Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
prisoners suffering in iron chains,
because they rebelled against God’s commands
and despised the plans of the Most High.
So he subjected them to bitter labor;
they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
and broke away their chains.

“So many things we witness right now in the world is very painful and sad,” Zhigulin said. “We pray for all who suffer here and there and everywhere. We are glad that the church still helps everyone in need, as Christ teaches us to do. May God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”

As a bonus, here’s a Russian-language song, “He Humbled Himself,” based on Philippians 2:6-11, performed by participants in the 2023 annual Christian Singing School in Russia.

What a cappella song do you find especially meaningful? Send us a video link and a short description of what the song means to you. We might use your selection in a future Voices Only.

Filed under: a cappella A cappella group a cappella hymn original hymn Russia Russia Ukraine conflict Timeless Psalter Voices Only

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