“Let Your Heart Rejoice!”

A hymn to joy went viral.

Aurélien Saniko was born in Cameroon. At the age of 13, he contracted an incurable disease, but after a year, he inexplicably recovered. He wanted to express his gratitude, and in 1985, at the age of 15, he wrote the song ”Comment ne pas te louer?” (”How could I not praise you?”) This joyful, very simple, rousing little tune with gospel overtones praising the ”Lord Jesus” was first sung enthusiastically in local parishes and then spread to Catholic services in Africa. Back in 2009, Saniko filmed a short clip of his song and posted it on YouTube.

In the meantime, Aurélien Saniko has become a priest. In early 2023, the 52-year-old was contacted by journalists, and he learned that his song had become a big hit on the video-sharing app TikTok. The song had gone ”viral”. After a class of students from Kabambare High School in Kinshasa uploaded a rendition of the song, it was shared, remixed, and re-recorded by hundreds of amateur singers, eventually receiving millions of clicks.

In 2023, the now international hit reached other people in atheist, Muslim or other religious circles, where it has been taken up with great enthusiasm. No one seems to mind that it openly praises the Lord Jesus, even when the song is played in nightclubs. The original version from 2009 now has more than 4.8 million views on YouTube, plus countless other cover versions.

So, it is possible for a very simple, unpretentious song to convey contagious joy, transcend all borders, spread a sense of universal fellowship, and bring positivity to the world. The reason must surely be because the song came from the depths of a sincere heart. In a world marked by divisions of all kinds, the manifestation of communion can only be rejoiced.

Translation Laura Liska
Image Screenshot from the video Louange au carré (Aurélien Saniko); Youtube channel: Aurelian Bollevis

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