|The Grateful album|
I had known that Solomon Lange, the big fat gospel music singer from southern Kaduna, had released a new music album. I had listened to a single song from the album when Anita Mallum played it on Music on Radio II on Peace FM Jos.
Yesterday, 12th December, I was in a taxi, on my way home from the city when the driver played that album from his stereo. Then, suddenly, there was this track that encored the line “glory, glory to your name papa o.”
Right from the beginning of the song, I could feel the emotional spin of the song and its outstanding audio identity. Music with an emotional spin often transports me far away in thought. That was exactly my experience as we drove towards College of Mary Immaculate. My thought spun around the cliché of the message that was nevertheless striking. It was about praise and adoration. Of course messages of songs, especially gospel would always be the same: praises and adorations. But what should make it striking is the uniqueness of the melody and its capacity to swirl one’s mind. It is from there that the fortification and inspiration come - the power of a song comes largely from the melody and the emotion it evokes. I paid attention to the conscious effort to give the song a Nigerian and African identity: a phrase like “papa o”, the inflexion and an element of central African Makossa.
I disembarked from the taxi at Vom Junction with one intention at the back of my mind: to go ask for the album at a music retailing studio at the junction. The music vendor told me copies of the album have been sold out but he had a copy on his computer. He could burn the songs to a CD for me if I wanted. I told him about this particular song Glory to Your Name and he said it was part of the collection. Not wanting to take chances I requested him to play it. While the song played, a lady who was traveling from Lagos to Yola had to disembark from the commercial bus that conveyed them to ask for the song, having heard it blaring from the huge speakers in front of the studio. The lady was moved the way I had been moved on hearing the song. Such influence comes from the strong power in a song. So, I asked the music vendor: “can you see what playing this song has just done? If you want to continue selling this album all you need to do is just to continue playing this very song. People will come in to ask for it.”
Solomon Lange knows that getting people to love your music does not come from going to the homes of music presenters, knocking and handing out a brown envelope. It comes from writing a good song, awakening your creative wits and using these qualities to make the song striking and acceptable. The song Glory to Your Name is one example.