I’ve been thinking about how we can make our Ghanaian Christian music better and something caught my attention.
You see the Nigerians and the South African Gospel Artistes? They have something unique they add to their music. A Nigerian will hardly write a song without inserting a line from their native language. Have you observed it? Similarly the Nigerian hardly deviates from their traditional style of music.
The High pitched guitar works. The drum pattern. The shaker. Immediately you hear the beat you know that this is definitely a Nigerian song. In fact even for those born and raised in Europe and America they intentionally mention some of the words like they were raised in Naija. I simply say that this makes people readily identify with the songs.
I was listening to Joe Mettle’s God of Miracles album and I found something interesting on the song “Amen.” Immediately Ntokozo joined the song she introduced her South African language with words like “Siti Bayete, Nkosi Jesu… Very deliberate if you ask me. It made me fall in love with the song.
How many times haven’t we listened to a song from South Africa and ended up tearing even though we didn’t understand a line in the song? Ghanaians, there is nothing wrong with fusing our culture and for that matter our language into our songs especially our Gospel music.
Yes you can write an English song, fine, but how about running a line or two for the many rural folks in Ghana to also have an appreciation of the music you produced?
We live in Ghana and we can easily mention Nigerian words like Alagbada Ina, Onise, Ebube Jesoz, Eziomo, Kabiyesi, Igwe etc but let Braa Kwaku just do a poetry with words like Odomankoma, Kantinka, Obrempong, Mawu Gbogbolisa, Tsaatse Mawu, Tete ntreedee and you will hear people complain that his Twi is too heavy. We are gradually losing our identity as a people.
Our music shows nothing about Ghana. We all now think in the format of the US and Hillsong. We have “contemporarised” everything about our music. What happened to our Fante Abibi nwom? What happened to our Ewe Borboorbor, what happened to our Asante kete, what happened to our Ga Mashie kpanlogo? God doesn’t appreciate these? God doesn’t like highlife? God doesn’t like the Gome drum? The fontonfrom? He doesn’t like Marakas? Certainly not!
Lately I have stopped listening to radio cus most of the Gospel songs being produced are just for monetary purposes. The ones with great content also don’t get airplay so I have resolved to buy CDs from Artistes with great theological base and creativity just to enjoy them. At least the Pentecost theme songs can get me to pray for hours in the car with sound theologically apt lyrics and music.
Our musicians must of a necessity begin to think outside the box. Music is not straight jacketed. Music is very dynamic. Let’s have some dynamism in our music and see how God uses it as a tool to draw many unto himself.
The Lord bless us all
By: Quesi Boate