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Damali's 'Beautiful' Debut
Damali’s ‘Beautiful’ Debut
Sister trio ministers fresh, unique worship material
By Shamerra T. Brown

The name means “beautiful vision.” The sound is gallantly angelic. Damali emerges
onto the Christian music scene with a cutting-edge style and an unveiled agenda:
Penetrating the heart of God through worship.

Divine Set Up
It only takes one listen to perceive that the group’s members were born for a divine
assignment. Rewind to a small South Florida town in the mid-1980s. Birthed into a
gifted family of pastors, ministers, singers and musicians, the three sisters,
Jacarada “JB”, Robbie and Felicia Banks were reared from the beginning with a
strong sense of purpose. From their zealous parents, they received their knowledge
of who they are in Christ, where they were going in life, and most importantly, they
were taught to love the Lord.

In Sunday School, they were identified as books of the Bible: JB – Leviticus, Robbie
– Exodus, and Felicia – Deuteronomy. The names would describe them
prophetically, as it relates to their roles in the Kingdom.

“Our parents left no room for doubt that this was the plan God has for our lives.
They never left a second open for us to not know what we wanted to do,” JB
explained.

As the story goes, the girls began singing in their father’s church (Bible Church of
God). On the way to and from service, they would listen to The Clark Sisters, BeBe
& CeCe, The Pace Sisters and Commissioned. It didn’t take long for the trio to
absorb the harmonies of their musical influences – JB often found herself leading
her sisters as they harmonized to Christian artists, as well as TV commercials.

New Life
In the 1990s, the teenagers formed The Banks Sisters. They sang at church,
athletic games, and other local platforms. After catching up with each other at the
same college in North Carolina, the girls settled in at New Life Fellowship (Pastor
John P. Kee). It was also during this time that they were away from familiar
surroundings and continued to cultivate their relationships with the Lord. In one way
or another, they all participated in the church’s music department—recording on
albums, touring, singing on the praise team, or directing choirs.

“New Life was great training ground because I began to lead praise and worship. I
was nervous at first because I had never led out like that and I was told I couldn’t do
it…but when it’s time to walk in your calling, it’s time to walk in your calling,” JB said.

A natural-born leader, JB has been criticized for her assertive leadership skills. To
that, she confidently retorts: “I exercise my spiritual authority. If I don’t operate in
what God told me to operate in, then I don’t get what I need to have…I don’t elevate
in my relationship with God if I’m not obedient.”

In 2004, Damali was formed and the ladies have not looked back since. When JB
came up with the Arabic name, she had others in mind. “We want people to realize
that not only do preachers and people with ‘large caliber’ callings have beautiful
visions, but as individuals, we all were put on this earth to fulfill a destiny…each
person’s vision is beautiful and needs to be heard.”

Art of Worship
The album, Penetrate My Heart, came to fruition through divine timing, as the trio
was only in the studio to record a few songs for a demo (to pitch to major record
labels). After working with their Chicago-based producer and going home to Florida
for a family visit, the ladies received a gentle, but prophetic urge from their father to
go forth with recording a full length CD in 2006.

Damali’s intentions are simple: They want souls to be reached, lives to be changed,
and most importantly, they want to facilitate others into relationship and worship to
God.

After witnessing the group minister their songs in a live concert, power-packed with
zeal, it’s apparent that the lyrics come from a place in God where one taps into
when the road gets rough (and God subsequently becomes everything you’ve got
to rely on). “This vision came about at the hardest point in my life. It was my
breaking point. I went through a situation that was horrible, but God was using that
time to make the crooked places straight for the level he was taking me to,” JB
expressed.

Damali also serves the Kingdom as a multifunctional production company,
specializing in dance, music, theatre and workshops. The group is already living up
to the name and the words in one of their “beautiful” worship songs, “Higher”:
I have
no limits in You/Pursuing to do all the things You’ve called me to do/You held my
hand when I wanted to give up/I can see where You’ve brought me from and where
You’re taking me/I can’t go back now/I’m going higher in You.

The group debuts Penetrate My Heart in early September. For more information,
please contact Damali Productions at 704-287-7843 or visit
www.mydamali.com.