[Image Source]

I was thinking about creativity in Naija gospel music recently and here is the image that came to my mind:  If a woman, for example, finally gives birth to a child after 7 years of barrenness (Yes, these stories are real and they abound. No kidding), she will be overjoyed for a whole plethora of reasons that I don't need to spell out.  Let's not even front; she'll be 'over the moon' if it is a male child (Some things never change ... More on this later).  In other words, her joy will be 'Double-Double' in the words of that now popular praise song -->>> Eh, eh, eh, eh, My God is good o ... Everything na double-double o -->>> Yes, THAT song. I even heard a Pastor change it to 'Mega-Mega' because apparently 'Double-double' was a limitation.  Anyways, back to the woman and her testimony.

Now, if this woman is artistically inclined (or not), she can choose to express her boundless joy and heartfelt thanksgiving using art as a medium of expression.  Yes, art as in painting, sculpture, papier mache, ati bee bee.  Bearing in mind that she was barren for 7 years, and 'Bakwai' is the Hausa word for Seven, she can decide to (Yup! You guessed right ... Here come the bullet points ... #Predictable):

  • Draw a stick figure of herself thanking God, and in that figure she could draw 7 strands of hair on her head to represent 7 years.  If you don't know what a stick figure is, please see the picture below for inspiration *grinning mischievously* (I had to restrain myself from actually drawing one myself)

[Stick Figure]
  • 'Sculpt' a sculpture (Ah, I couldn't think of another verb to use jare) incorporating the 'Bakwai' concept
  • Create an abstract painting using 7 colors and call it (Wait for it) ... "Bakwai"
  • She can do an official photography session where she wears 7 different outfits

By now, I am sure you get the picture.  Well, at least I hope you do :-)  There's a whole spectrum of almost endless possibilities.  The problem is when it comes to commercial uses.

I would be more keen (if I owned an art gallery, for instance) on putting the abstract painting or sculpture up for auction, especially if they are of very good quality.  Here's my point though: I appreciate different perspectives, as per looking at art from various standpoints.  That's what makes it so fascinating, to me.  Someone might actually be 'moved' to buy the stick figure picture/painting for the sake of the story behind it.  But let us assume that you do not know and will never know the story.  Which (of the possible art forms I mentioned above) would you pick?

There are too many 'stick figure' drawings on the walls of art galleries, for sale, lying side by side with quality works.  Of course, the analogy I am drawing here is to Nigerian gospel music.  If we work on improving the quality, without sacrificing the content, it can have a wider reach and touch more lives.  Right now, the packaging is putting off a lot of people who should hear the message of salvation, love and hope that artistes have lovingly put into their songs.  Like someone once said (I don't know the name of the 'someone'), God provides lemons, but HE will not give you lemonade.  There's a process of polishing (to borrow that word from one of my readers, Ademola O), that we are missing and we need to get it RIGHT.  I believe this is what God would want because He wants us to strive for excellence in everything we do.  

It is crazy that you put this post up about Excellence. I think it is one attribute I daily work on and hope to put into all my work and relationships. It is what we need in Nigeria and the do everything with excellence within the limitations we are presented with.

The need to keep getting better, doing better, starting from scratch even after years if what is produce is not up to quality, to do better than one's last effort. Excellence is a worthy pursuit that means outstanding and regardless of flaws, it is evidently a work done with dedication and passion. However, i think even if you start with a stick figure...your next attempt should be better. If it is still a stick finger...then make it the best darn stick figure drawing in the history of the world.

Okay, Ms Bakwai...really! Anyways, I might go with the abstract painting.

You seem to love the Nigerian music industry alot. Wetin be your own self? Na like so we dey do our thing for Naija. lol.

Everything in the Nigerian music industry these days is predictable; from the song title to the beat of the song and even the lyrics. I am waiting for a time I'd be dazed... I mean startled! lol. Well, maybe you should be the desgin manager of some of them... u know u can do it? Start writing to dem big names.... and ask them to visit ur blog. I am sure you would be RELENTLESS when you get into that industry! lol

Love your spirit :)


I am with you on "quality." If we think about it, God is all about excellence. Everything about Him points to the best, so even with Gospel, it shouldn't be any different. Imitating other genres ( especially in terms of the way artistes are dressed in music videos) is something that Christian artistes need to separate themselves from. We were called to be "set apart" not to conglomerate.

The Nigeria music industry in general could do with a lot of creativity. Only very few are anywhere creative and those are the ones I listen to and download their music on iTunes. I like your passion and drive and I'm sure most of them could do with a lot of what you could offer.

Well said! Since I have been in Nigeria I have detested going to church, the sermons are too wordy with no real life experience. If they could just add some creativity and fun it would be such a different case.



I think Excellence is underrated and taken for granted, but if we truly evaluate our actions, we can tell if we value it or value mediocrity more (I am speaking to myself on this one).  That excellence mindset is godly and if we claim to be children of God, we should adopt it too. So you're right; we need it in Nigeria and in the world.

You see that thing you just mentioned about "the need to keep getting better and better" is very true.  The day a person thinks he or she has arrived is the day he or she starts to diminish in every other thing because it takes a humble person to admit that they don't know and understand everything.  If you approach circumstances with the attitude of "I want to learn more", it will make a world of difference.  Passion is hard to miss:it is either there or it isn't. I feel you on making the stick figure the best one ever, but emm... I would still pick the abstract painting sha.  I refuse to believe a stick figure is a work of art *wink*


Yes now, I LOVE Naija gospel music.  The irony is that it is only a fairly recent thing for me.  A few years ago, I would have given you more than one "bad eye" for playing such music near me.  But the love has grown and now, it is all I want to listen to.  Talk about change, ba? Bros, I know say una like the music industry as e be, but na for all of our benefit make e better (Kai! My pidgin sucks!)

I agree with the predictability of the music.  It is something I constantly struggle with, but I try to look for the good aspects of songs as well.  Don't worry LDP. As long as creativity is encouraged and artistes (and their producers) realize that they are not restricted to certain sounds, you will hear the difference in the music they churn out.  

Thanks so much for your suggestions though. I have noted them *smiles*

And thanks for the vote of confidence.  E se pupo!


Yes, quality is so important and yet we take it for granted.  It is almost as if we feel that because we are presenting this "offering" of praise to God, He will accept "anything" and that is not true.  If people in the world can't stand  gospel music (for the quality or lack thereof), what do you think God thinks about it.  We have a long way to go, but the change we really want has to start in our minds.  You're so right about God being a God of excellence.  If we are supposed to be "imitators" of God, then right now we are not even hitting the mark.  And don't even get me started on the way gospel artistes dress. Dat na anoda separate blog post :-)

I LOVE your statement: 'We were called to be 'set apart' not to conglomerate.' That was a perfect way to wrap this up.  Thanks for stopping by :D

Thanks a lot for the vote of confidence, Naija4Life.  Coming from you, it's a compliment :-)

I don't blame you for restricting your iTunes downloads to the few you think are creative.  I even applaud you for it.  What's the point of buying 6 different albums that sound the exact same way?  If you really look at it, I think gospel artistes sometimes thrive on our buying their music because we "love God." Once money is changing hands though, I think you need to bring more to the table than just being a brother or sister in Christ. Things will change though ... In fact, they are already changing ....

Emmm, Mr. Ofili, if you don't mind my asking, which churches were you visiting? LOL! The ones I follow are quite entertaining and full of real life experience.  But, I have 'been there' as per listening to the sermons lacking real life experience.  But isn't that what meditating on scripture and putting it into practice should do? But you're right though: throwing some more creativity and fun into the 'mix' wouldn't hurt either as long as the message is clear :-)


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

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