Mercy Chinwo Treats Us to a Highlife and Gospel Crossover

Nigerian singer, songwriter, Mercy Chinwo who came to prominence in the 2012 Nigerian Idol’s competition is back with another album.

Local airwaves have been featuring Chinwo’s hit song “Excess Love” quite a bit lately. The song has become a staple in the Nigerian church music scene, giving churchgoers some head bopping tunes heaps of inspiration.
It’s no wonder that the gospel starlet’s album is such a hit. The new album is a wonderfully melodic celebration of God and artfully incorporates the warm nostalgic sounds of traditional ‘highlife‘ music, a style of music that originated in Ghana during the early 1900s and has its influences in Yoruba and Igbo cultures.
Chinwo’s album features the highlife-style tracks such as ‘Bor Ekom’, ‘Regular’, ‘Imenem’, ‘Correct’, ‘I am’ and ‘Inhedinma’. These songs are infused with jazzy brass melodies, smooth basslines, and a hint of calypso flavor.

Mercy who comes from a humble background in Rivers State, Nigeria, is the first of six children. The singer recalls how supportive her family have been of her ever since she gained an interest in music. One can certainly sense Mercy’s passion for music from listening to her albums.
Her masterpiece, the track entitled Bor Ekom is a true stamp of Chinwo’s magnificent vocal prowess. The song features a scat and Zulu drawl that beautifully encapsulates that South African flavor, an influence that the artist has really gravitated towards.

The artist brings listeners harmonies that reminds us that artists like her have fulfilled their “responsibility to tell the world about God. She delightfully sings the words, “You never change…You won’t start now” and applies some intensity when she sings the line, “How excellent is your name”. ‘My Responsibility’ is the perfect recipe for new levels of worship.
Music in Africa magazine reviewed Mercy’s latest album described the track ‘Igwe’ ft. Fiokee Chinwo “as a soft ballad fit for a musical. “Her voice becomes slightly animated as the digital instrumentation does a pizzicato number. It’s almost like a whole orchestra comes in at “Oh, what a father I have in you”, immediately creating imagery of heaven’s armies coming to the rescue when you choose God over anyone else. This is the album’s most classical piece.”

Other notable tracks on the album include “Omekannaya” a soulful acoustic ballad with a divinely Zulu acapella feel, “Imenem”- reminiscent of Kenny Kore’s ‘Hallelujah’ and Correct, a modern calypso-inspired delight.
The album is of course filled with great songs and is an expected hit by Nigeria’s favorite gospel starlet.

Kanye West Throws Sunday Service Style Hip Hop Concert

Kanye West decided to turn a recent Sunday prayer session into a full-blown concert. The result- a successful Kanye Hip Hop show infused with gospel church energy.

The prayers service turned Hip Hop show featured some of the biggest names in the rap industry, with collaborators such as Kid Cudi, Tony Williams and 070 Shake. The artists performed some of their best hits as well as gospel renditions including “Reborn,” “I Wonder” and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1.” According to the crowds, one of the most touching moments of the performance was his song ‘Reborn’, “the best song to come out of G.O.O.D Music’s chaotic summer.

Kid Cudi, Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

Kanye West has said that his spiritual breakthrough is largely due to the artist Chance the Rapper. West has thanked the famed Christian rapper for helping him “reconnect him to his Christian faith, which is greatly impacting his family.”
In a tweet, the mega-star wrote “you have to see and feel how happy I am and how strong my family is,” West tweeted. “We are even stronger because of this through the love and grace of God.”

“I need to speak about how Chance demanding that we record in Chicago reconnected me with my roots and also my faith in Jesus Christ,” he said. Over the summer, the two artists collaborated on a joint album in a Chicago studio. According to xxlmag.com, “Chance and West did not complete the album but apparently, their time together was an opportunity for Chance to share some of his faith with the controversial trailblazer enough to stir his faith back up.”

Chance the Rapper Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock
Chance the Rapper Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Chance is not only inspiring others to follow the righteous path but is also on his own spiritual mission. Earlier this month, he announced that he’s leaving the country to “learn the Word of God,” acknowledging that while he was raised in a Christian home, he’s essentially “unfamiliar” with the Bible.
“I’m on a plane headed out the country on my first sabbatical,” the artist wrote in a recent Instagram post. “I’m going away to learn the Word of God which I am admittedly very unfamiliar with. I’ve been brought up by my family to know Christ, but I haven’t taken it upon myself to really just take a couple of days and read my Bible. We all quote scripture and tell each other what God likes and doesn’t like, but how much time do we spend as followers of Jesus to really just read and KNOW His Word. I’m definitely guilty of not devoting time to it.”

It sounds like we can all be expecting some amazing music from both Kanye and Chance very soon.

The ‘Experience’ Concert – Jesus Our Peace

This year’s Experience concert just wrapped up and the turnout was simply overwhelming.

An exhilarated crowd at the recent ‘Experience Concert in Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, Nigeria roared and cheered at the incredible line-up of this year’s gospel extravaganza. The concert, now in its 13th year has been the most popular concert for gospel fans around the world. This year, under the theme ‘Jesus Our Peace’ the artistes dedicated their music to the pursuit of world peace by improvising and creating songs on the spot with the word ‘peace’. Some musicians even quoted scripture while keeping in with the theme.

Kirk Franklin at Experience 2018, Vanguard
Kirk Franklin at Experience 2018, Vanguard

African-American pop-gospel singer Kirk Franklin took to the stage with an impressive rap on the subject. In his song, he wowed crowds with the words peace transcends to Abuja Akwa Ibom etc. Among the many other artists were, Planet Shakers, Don Moen, Donnie McClurkin, Eben, Chioma Jesus, Travis Greene, Mike Aremu, Glowreeyah, Timi Dakolo all of which dazzled the tens of thousands of soul-winners that stood before them.

The show also featured incredible collaborations between artists and was indeed an enlightening experience for all present. The world’s finest gospel artistes led the crowd into fiery praise and worship into God’s glorious embrace. Over 70 000 people united and inspired with reverence over musicians overpowering musical ministering.
Explaining the choice of theme, The Experience Convener, Pastor Paul Adefarasin of House On The Rock Church said, “The theme ‘Jesus our Peace’ is significant because it precedes a crucial election year. Despite many challenges Nigerians may face, we cannot afford to lose faith in God’s ability to turn things around for our good, choosing to see a bright future, the Nigeria of our dreams, one that we can proudly bequeath to the ‘next-generations.’ Above all, peace must be our ultimate candidate, regardless of the outcome of the elections – we all need to work together for a peaceful win.”
Pastor Paul Adefarasin continued by stressing that not only is the annual concert a source of inspiration to millions of gospel fans and congregants, but it is also a tourist attraction for the nation of Nigeria.

Line-up at Experience 2018, Vanguard
Line-up at Experience 2018, Vanguard

“The Experience is a major contributor to both our National and State economies through tourism and its associated businesses.”, Adefarasin continued, noting that “Entrepreneurs have developed and birthed various enterprises which substantially contribute to the economy in areas of human capital development, hospitality, commerce and industry.

“The Entertainment sector of the economy has also blossomed over the last 12 years of the Experience. This is evident as many of our indigenous gospel artistes who featured on its platform have become highly sought-after internationally, with significant changes in their personal economies. Several international collaborations between our home-based music ministers and their foreign counterparts have been birthed on this very platform.”
With an incredibly successful Experience 2018 behind us, millions of fans are already looking forward to the next one.