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We Need Music That Can Compete With Destraction

Posted: Jun 6, 2015 at 1:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Recently, the second edition of The Catholic Praise Concert was held at the main Auditorium of The University of Lagos (UNILAG), Chinyere Abiaziem met with the organiser, where he talked about the essence of the concert and other issues relating to the gospel music industry.  

Could you introduce yourself?

My name is Peter Egbumokei.

You are the brain behind this concept?

God is the brain; let’s say I’m only God’s tool box. God is the brain behind it; I got inspired many years ago to do something like this. The original plan was to have a radio station where I can share my favourite Christian music with the world or to have a recording of my Christian songs that I can share with the rest of the world.  But I wasn’t sure if that will project the glory of God the way I really wanted, overtime the thought evolved to that of a concert. That was how we started and realising that in the Catholic Church we don’t really have concerts like this, we do have maybe choral festival and the likes but we don’t have something that is contemporary like we are doing now.  Most concerts are usually done by secular music industry.  And recently Pentecostal churches are doing that with the likes of Experience.

We don’t have anything like that in Nigeria and Africa as a matter of fact it was an opportunity to fill that gap the primary thing is that we want to praise God.   We want to use music as an avenue to reach out to people. We want to do a kind of revival in the Catholic Church at the same time we want to help us as Christians to open up ourselves to praise. Some of the powerful prayers in the Catholic Church is first and foremost is the holy Eucharist which is the Mass and there is music which is underemphasised sort of. And we have not yet explored the full power of music as a form of prayer especially when it is praise that is what we are trying to do

Some Christian youths say they don’t have the platform to express themselves unlike secular musicians. Do you agree with this?

Well, a bit yes and no.  I will understand that it is based on the fact that it is difficult to get Christian artistes in a place like Nigeria. But  I will disagree in the sense that  it’s not as if they don’t have a platform but it’s just that  people don’t  find Christian music as entertaining   and appealing  as secular music. What we are trying to do is not to make Christian music more appealing. No. What we are trying to do is to articulate the music in a way that is not sporadic noise but a gathering of the same kind of melody because God is an orderly God. And that’s what we are trying to do we are submitting ourselves to be God’s toolbox and sort of fine tune the ministry and skill of music as a medium of thanks and praise to God.

What do you think can help in making Christian music appealing?

First and foremost, it’s what I call articulation maybe there is a better word for it.  What I’m trying to say in essence is that you need to sort of bring things together and when things are brought together you create critical mass of people who begin to pay attention to the music. Also we need to recognise that right now there are a lot of distractions, we cannot be trying to promote music or catch the attention of people even adults not only youths  by using the same things we have done before in this modern world.  You need to project music in a way that will be able to compete with some of these distractions.

Now also its part of the works that we also need to do,  If you noticed in the concert we have choral groups , orchestra,  pop gospel music. We are not saying choir should start to sing pop, we are not saying pop singers should do something else. We try to build a rhythm in the transition, high quality of performance   and the way they are together, that’s part of what we are doing. I mean there is so much work to be done. I’m really happy that we had so many younger people and even older people in the hall, to me that is the beginning. This is the second time we are doing this concert and people are so excited and surprised at what Christians can do. Sometimes people erroneously say things like music is an instrument of the devil. That is not true because God’s angels sing  and this is us saying God we love you, we are  grateful for everything,  even though things are one way or the other but you deserve the praise.

Where will you get to and say you have arrived with this annual concert?

First and foremost   when we have sponsors coming after us because right now sponsors are very limited. We are not charging any ticket fee, admission is free of charge, and we are solely dependent on donors.  When we now start to move it from city to city or have more than one concert in a year maybe two cities in a country. Third, when we start to have regional attendance, people coming in from outside Nigeria and Lagos to perform, that is what we look forward to when this concert becomes an household name . Hopefully, the Vatican can say oh! The catholic praise concert, when people can talk about top concerts in Nigeria and Africa and we will be among the top five.  But ultimately we want that people are blessed, for those who don’t believe in God seeing the awesomeness of God not just    entertainment.

How can you relate or compare this concert to Experience. Is it going to be something different?

I always try not to compare the two because it will appear as if there is a competition. However, I will say that; Experience opened my eyes to this possibility but we are not trying to compete with experience because for one the Pentecostal way of doing things is slightly different from the way we do things. However, the ultimate goal we all want is to win souls for Christ. In that regards we can say yes that is one very strong meeting point and we are using music and that’s another strong meeting point and for us we really just want to praise God that is why we call it the catholic praise concert.

What can you say about the trend of gospel artistes turning into secular musicians?

You see it is inevitable, religion is not really a relationship with God but Christianity is a relationship with God. There are two different things, religion is a practice, something people do quite often  it may  not have  a whole lot of meaning. Relationship with God is  something really deeper and powerful  , some people use religion  as a means to an end I’m not judging anybody,  some people  might find out that religion is a means for them to start developing their music  career then later on they find something more exciting and people have to eat.  It’s not easy being a gospel musician especially in a place like Nigeria where people tend towards what brings more money which is natural. What will be the disaster is not that they stop singing gospel music, what will be the tragedy is if they abandon their relationship with God totally and surrender to something that is materialistic or empty that is the tragedy, because if they retain their relationship with God even if they go into secular music you will still see the quality of music they produce which tells us something about God.