Ghanaian gospel musician of international repute, Sonni Badu, opined in 2009 that most Ghanaian gospel songs do not make sense. “They lament too much instead of praising, exhorting or thanking God” said Sonnie.
About two years on, one of Ghana’s entertainment newspapers called ‘News One,’ published Sonnie’s own words which were captured on tape when he made those remarks. When the story was reviewed, Sonnie came public to apologize, simply because some people think his words were not proper.
Sonnie Badu was even charitable with his words. In my opinion, ‘most Ghanaian gospel songs are meant for the trash bin.’ As gospel artistes keep popping up each passing day, the lyrics of their songs which must make their songs gospel are far from that.
Most of the lyrics in their songs cannot be described as gospel. One listens to the so called gospel songs and all that you hear are; unnecessary shouting, well rehearsed “tongues,” wailing, preaching for material sense gratifications, illusion of hopes and invocation of holy ghost which never shows up.
The themes of gospel songs in Ghana are only two. One, they tell a story of how they were neglected by their family, which many a time is false because in this day and age, the living is so tough that everyone is minding his/her own business. Nobody can carry his cross (problems) as well as that of his/her fellow; even Jesus Christ has stopped doing that.
The phrase they use to that effect is “adedenfikyire.” That phrase has become so hackneyed in Ghanaian gospel songs that each time I hear it, I fell like retching. They glorify luxury as though it is the ultimate goal of life. You will travel…yeah! You will marry…that is my portion! You will get riches…I receive it!
Most of them don’t have any sensible message to churn out through music. As Christians, the ultimate message we should be preaching about is eternity. If you marry and you don’t go to heaven, what have you done? If you travel to “abrokyire” and go to struggle for few dollars, is that blessings?
If you make riches and fail to make heaven, what have you done? Who even told these gospel musicians that rich men are the happiest people on earth? ‘Spiritual science’ will teach you that riches, is nothing but slavery in disguise.
Again, the mere fact that a person tags him/herself a Christian and mentions Yesu, Jesus Christ, Onyame, in his or her songs does not necessary make him or her a Christian or his/her /her song gospel. Even demons can mention Jesus Christ and after, live to perpetrate their evil deeds. If you know the raunchy life style some of these so called gospel musicians live, you will be balled over…
To me, most reggae songs are by far gospel than our so called gospel songs. Most reggae songs preach about liberation, togetherness, freedom, peace, redemption, godliness and morality. That is gospel! Not the loose lyrics supported by danceable beats packaged to us as Ghanaian gospel music.
When you listen to gospel songs composed by western gospel musicians such as Don Moen, Ron Kenoly, Delores Barr, Naomi Edwards, Kirk Franklin, Donny McClurkin, Marjorie Reece and others, how do you feel? Of course you feel rejuvenated, liberated, hopeful, joyous, confident and a sense of peace and harmony with God and nature.
Go back and listen to gospel music composed by old gospel musicians like; Rev. Esther Nyamekye, Kofi Abraham, Ola Williams, Tagoe Sisters, The Harvesters Band, Helena Rhabbles, Comfort Annor, Rev. Mary Ghansah, Daughters of Glorious Jesus, Hannah Marfo, Nana TakyiwaaAsabiri, Osofo Emma of (Yesuanna fame), Bertha Aboagye, ElidaSobotie, Rev. Thomas Yawson, Bishop Michael Osei Bonsu – of blessed memory, Yaw Sarpong and a host of others.
Their songs were auspicious, transcendental, sublime, preach renunciation and edify the soul. I call their type of gospel ‘Soul Foods.’ One listens to our so called gospel songs of today and all they emit are: fear, melancholy, fighting against an illusionary enemy, over repeated lyrics, similar beats and false hopes.
Regrettably, songs which preach about renunciation and salvation don’t get much air play; just as pastors who preach salvation don’t get bigger congregations. Nonetheless, there are some gospel musicians of today who are doing a great job!
Our so called gospel artistes should take time, go through the holy bible and select text that motivates, rejuvenates and inspires, and use them to compose quality songs for our spiritual upliftment. This earth is temporal, heaven is eternal. Until then……..MOTWUM!!