Artist Name: Roge Abergel and Kingdom Culture
Birth Name: Roge Abergel
Birth Place and Date: August 14th, Casablanca, Morocco
Roge Abergel, is a unique reggae artist with a fascinating background and rich lineage. He was born of Jewish ethnicity to French-speaking parents, in Casablanca, Morocco (North Africa). At a young age, Roge's family was transplanted to The Ivory Coast in West Africa. They settled in Marcory, a district south of Abidjan. As a teenager, Roge Abergel, (pronounced "Row-jay Aber-jel") initially fell in love with the soulful heart pulsing sounds of Reggae.
"I grew up listening to the likes of Otis Redding, James Brown and Fela Kuti," He recalls. "I started listening to artists like Jimmy Cliff and the Wailing Wailers. Everything was imported to the Ivory Coast on vinyl records. I became fascinated with Jamaican music when it evolved into roots reggae and was musically indoctrinated by the reggae greats. By the mid seventies I was fully converted to reggae--It was the music of my heart!"
Influenced by artists like Winston "Burning Spear" Rodney and Bob Marley, Roge 's greatest desire was to sing roots reggae. While he used to jam it with his friends as a youth, it wouldn't be until decades later that this dream would come to reality.
In 1983 Roge moved to the United States hoping to kick off his music career. But God had a different plan for his life. Just a few months after arriving in the USA he met a sweet woman named Diane. The Lord used her tremendously. She led Roge to Christ, helped disciple him and supported his desire to answer the call of God and go into fulltime ministry. The two married the following year.
Roge received his initial ministry training at Crenshaw Christian Center School of Ministry in Los Angeles, with further ministry studies through Vision Christian University. He has been in the ministry for over twenty years as the founding and senior pastor of World Harvest Church, Los Angeles. He is a current member of the International Third World Leaders Association, ITWLA (Nassau, Bahamas), led by Dr. Myles Munroe whom he considers his mentor and pastor.
Roge is known as a multicultural international minister. He speaks five different languages (French, English, two dialects of Arabic and Hebrew) and has visited 30 different countries. His ministry focus is to establish the Kingdom of God by building up the body of Christ, establishing functional leadership and structuring strategic ministries. He is deeply committed to educate, train and develop people in the discovery and unlocking of their potential for the fulfillment of their destiny in Christ.
Roge is also the author of "Solve All Your Problems; God's Solution For Every Situation" and has recorded several praise and worship albums in the "A Psalm Today" series. While he loves singing praise and worship, his true musical passion has been for Reggae music. Deep in his heart he has always desired to sing roots reggae songs for Christ but the timing had to be right. "I had to make sure that my motivations were pure." Says the Pastor. "I needed to do things in God's timing. I didn't want to launch a musical career that would distract me from my primary role as a Pastor. The proclaiming of God's word must remain the central theme of everything I do."
In April of 2007 while speaking at "The People's Church" in Barbados the Lord mandated Roge to expand his ministering of the Word of God through the medium of Roots Reggae.
Upon his return from Barbados he teamed up with his friend Rick Balentine, the music director at Roge's church. Rick is a Grammy Nominated film/Television/Video game/Hip-hop composer/producer. Together the duo co-produced all the songs Kingdom Culture's debut project.
Roge's first reggae offering was the War EP, released in December of 2007. The album contains three full-length songs followed by the dub version of each track. To round off the project he worked with gospel reggae pioneer and dub scientist Mark Mohr of Christafari at his Zionic Sounds Dub Lab for mixing, overdubs and the Dub sessions. "These are dubs that heal from the inside out!" says Roge.
The War EP is a bold first effort by a tremendously talented reggae artist. It is strictly roots reggae with booming bass lines and infectious clavinet melodies by Rick Balentine, soulful guitar licks courtesy of Christafari's Obie Obien and tasty horn lines from members of Christafari's crew. This is Christ-centered roots at its best! Roge and Kingdom Culture are currently working on their full-length debut due out in mid 2008.
Exclusive Interview with GospelReggae.com
GR: Tell us about yourself, where were you born and where did you grow up?
Roge: I was raised in a Jewish family and born in Morocco. My dad was an accountant. At around the age of four my parents got invited by some family members to move to the Ivory Coast to handle their business ventures. Growing up in West Africa was great. I only have fond memories of those times. I grew up with African music and fell in love with African music and the records that were imported from Motown--and of course Reggae from Jamaica. At the age of 18 I traveled to Europe and the Middle East for a few years. In 1983 I decided to come to USA in an attempt to build a music career in reggae, but God had a different plan for my life. Instead he sent me to Bible school and asked me to put reggae on the shelf for a time such as now.
GR: What was it like being raised with a Jewish heritage and how did your parents ultimately take your conversion to Christianity?
Roge: I come from several generations of Rabbis on my grandfather’s side. It was a family tradition so practicing the religion was required. We went to the synagogue for Sabbath and observed all the annual feasts. At a young age I experienced plenty of anti-semitism. It was difficult because I never saw any barrier in my own eyes--everyone was the same. Around the age of 10 years old I had daydreams of this compassionate loving person that comforted me and gave me hugs—He looked like Jesus. This happened for around 4 years. Being a Jewish boy I could not share this with my family. So even though I didn’t know Him as my Lord and Savior, I knew that when I needed comfort I could go to Him and receive it. When I came to Christ my parents where shocked. They felt that I abandoned the truth and the broken the family tradition. We are still close and I pray for them daily.
"I am committed to leading the hurt and lost to complete restoration through the power of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. To boldly proclaim the gospel of our Messiah through my life and the talents that the Lord has gifted me with. To reach all who have ears to hear through uncompromising lyrics over the conscious sounds of soul-shaking roots and dub reggae!"--Roge Abergel
Roge Abergel and Kingdom Culture, The WAR EP, 2007--Gospel Reggae
Full-length album and dub projects coming soon...
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