Gospel Music is beyond the lyrical expression of the human mind; it is a powerful tool of conveying ideas, thoughts, doctrines, and ideologies which directly affect the soul. It is literally a craft of immeasurable capacity mastered by talented men across all ages to impress their convictions on their generations. However, testimonies in the Bible and in the history of the Church reveal that through music, souls have been saved, wounded hearts are healed, broken homes are restored, the lost are saved and the straying saints are revived. It is simply the language of the soul and a powerful weapon of influence that conditions both the physical and spiritual state of every child of God. The spirit man is a living being and he is highly responsive to music.
We read in Acts 16: 25-34 how Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God in the middle of the night and other prisoners were listening to them. This simple act brought down the power of God so much that the foundations of the prison were shaken, the prison doors flew open, everyone’s chains came loose and the jailers were saved. Such is the power of spiritual Gospel music songs. No wonder Apostle Paul admonishes the Ephesus Christians thus “Do not to get drunk on wine, which leads to reckless indiscretion. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
Not all songs in this generation are healthy for our
consumption. Some songs are sponsored by the culture of lawlessness and can be
very damaging to the soul as they dignify immorality and promote selfishness
and pride. The fame of the artist is not what validates the importance of the
song; if a song does not bring you nearer to God or encourage you to be positive
and godly in character, it simply has no place on your playlist as a child of
God. This is because the kinds of songs you listen to will determine the
quality of life you live. As a child of God, it is expedient to understand that
music has a place in your Christian growth and you must be able to harness it
for your maximum good. Psalms 95: 2 makes it clear that through spiritual
songs, we can access the very presence of God and unlock His blessings over our
Moreover, one of the ways through which a believer can stay edified and lifted in the spirit is through spiritual songs. When you study the church hymns, for instance, you will easily discover how rich the contents are in the revelation of God’s nature and power. They are songs borne out of divine encounters, released to the Body of Christ to inspire us into a deeper fellowship with our Savior and help us to align our lives better with the will and glory of God. Colossians 3:16-17 puts it this way: “Let the word of Christ dwell within you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Beloved, this is a wakeup call to you as a citizen of God’s kingdom. Our minds are not meant to be manipulated by the ungodliness of this age through unhealthy songs. We must be deliberate in our choice and intentional with our musical collections. It is our sincere prayer that the good Lord will help you to make this decision today in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Nigerian Christian music was first introduced in Benin and Warri by Portuguese Catholic missionaries in the 16th century through a rudimentary form of Portuguese liturgical music during the early evangelization of these kingdoms between 1485 and 1600. It was not that robust until the middle of the nineteenth century by the missionary activities of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in the United Kingdom, and this widespread evangelization took place in Nigeria. The Church Missionary Society (CMS) introduced the choral music of the Anglican Church, which was primarily all about congregational songs.
The pioneer of a unique
Nigerian variant of choral music was Reverend Josiah J. Ransome-Kuti, who began
experimenting with the fusion of choral music with Yoruba language and melodic
structures in the 1890s. As an organist of the Church of San Pedro, Ake,
Abeokuta, he composed choral pieces that embody the language and style of the
Yoruba. His work was so recognized that he was invited to the UK in 1922 to
record an album of these compositions on the Zonophone label. A total of 43
tracks were registered, some of which became standards, such as “Egbe awon
angeli”, “Oyigi yigi olorun wa”, “Jesu oba alaanu”. In
the entire West African he was the first to record an album.
Ransome-Kuti (grandfather of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti), therefore, can be called the father of Nigerian gospel music, provided that the genre is defined as a fusion of the music of Christian hymns and other genres. Kuti’s work may have been original and different from the parallel development of gospel music in the United States.
The other influential figure in the growth of Nigerian gospel music in the early twentieth century was the choir and composer Ikoli Harcourt-Whyte, who was the first to compose Christian choral music in the Igbo language of southeastern Nigeria. He began experimenting with both forms in the 1930s and was inspired by his time as a patient in the Methodist leprosy colony in Uzuakoli, in eastern Nigeria. His compositions, like Ransome-Kuti before, became gospel standards in Igbo-Land with a total of more than 200. Although he had not recorded an album, his compositions were recorded by the choir of the Uzuakoli leprosy colony after his Death in 1977. A second Engraving in 1999 by the African Choir of St. Louis Missouri in the United States.
Ransome-Kuti and Harcourt-Whyte became role models for several generations of Nigerian gospel musicians since gospel hymns in different languages were developed with services in indigenous languages. As originally planned by Ransome-Kuti, these services have become a key element in the evangelical search. In the 1950s and 1960s, several independent churches emerged with an indigenous duty order: the Church of Cherubim and Seraphim, the Celestial Church of Christ (founded in 1947) and the Qua Iboe Church (founded in 1887).
The C&S Church, founded in 1925 by former CMS member Moses Orimolade Tunolashe, developed severe indigenous influences such as the adoption of the Yoruba language and traditional Yoruba music as a hymn. Qua Iboe was founded by Irish missionaries in 1887 and later adopted the Efik language and the elements of traditional Efik music in their vocal and choir performances.
This tendency to
combine traditional forms of music with choral music spread throughout Nigeria.
Older churches, such as CMS, Catholics and Anglicans, incorporated traditional
African instruments in the background music of their choral performances, with
the rhythm of the traditional drums being the most important and the low
pumpkin (Udu) in the east of Nigeria.
In the early 1970s, changes began to emerge in Nigeria that were influenced by American gospel music, particularly folk and country gospel. Stars like Jim Reeves and Johnny Cash had many followers. His occasional incursions into the gospel-influenced a new generation of contemporary Nigerian Christian musicians. One of the first Nigerian bands to revolutionize this subgenre was the Karis Band of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The Pentecostal movement took root with the active evangelization of the United States and this band was founded by members of the Union of Scriptures (SU), one of the most active Pentecostal groups of the time. The UB promoted evangelism through the use of cheerful, cheerful and contemporary music in the so-called “worship and worship format”. As in the time of Reverend Ransome-Kuti, this should encourage converts to participate.