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To sing in English or not to sing in English? My opinion on Nathaniel Bassey's advice to Ghanaian gospel artistes.

Ghanaian gospel musicians have long been celebrated for their soul-stirring melodies and powerful messages that resonate with the spiritual fabric of their communities. While many artistes express their devotion through local languages like Twi, Ga, and Ewe, there is a growing trend towards creating gospel music in English. 

In a bid to amplify the reach of Ghanaian gospel music, Nigerian Gospel singer,  Nathaniel Bassey has suggested to his fellow Ghanaian gospel musicians to compose more songs in English during the Jesus Christ Encounter event held at the Accra Sports Stadium on December 2 . He believes that the global prevalence of the English language could serve as a catalyst in making the works of Ghanaian gospel artistes more accessible to a diverse demographic of listeners worldwide.

The question that needs asking is, what are the benefits Ghanaian artistes stand to enjoy by composing songs in English?

There are many potential benefits why some Ghanaian gospel musicians  might choose to write and sing their gospel songs in English. 

English serves as a universal language, breaking down barriers and reaching diverse audiences worldwide. By crafting gospel songs in English, Ghanaian musicians can extend the reach of their messages beyond local and regional boundaries. This global outreach allows them to share their faith and cultural richness with a wider audience, fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

Writing and singing in English does not mean abandoning Ghana's rich cultural heritage. Instead, it creates a platform for cultural exchange and unity. English becomes a tool for Ghanaians to share their unique traditions and spirituality with the world, promoting diversity and breaking stereotypes. The fusion of English lyrics with traditional Ghanaian rhythms can create a musical tapestry that resonates with people from various backgrounds.

In this digital age, the internet has become a powerful platform for sharing music globally. English-language songs are more likely to gain visibility on international streaming platforms and social media, providing Ghanaian gospel musicians with a valuable opportunity to connect with a larger audience. Increased visibility can lead to collaborations, partnerships, and exposure that might not have been as readily available with songs in local languages.

English is the language of collaboration in the global music landscape. By singing in English, Ghanaian gospel musicians can easily collaborate with artistes from different parts of the world. This cross-cultural dialogue not only enriches the musical landscape but also creates a platform for sharing diverse spiritual experiences and fostering global unity through the universal language of music.

English proficiency facilitates communication during international performances and tours. When Ghanaian gospel musicians choose English for their songs, they enhance their ability to connect with audiences in English-speaking countries. This not only broadens their fan base but also opens up opportunities for live performances and cultural exchanges on a global scale.

While the choice of language in gospel music remains a deeply personal one for artistes, the decision to sing in English can be seen as a strategic move towards global impact. 

Embracing English allows Ghanaian gospel musicians to bridge cultures, amplify their voices, and share the beauty of their spirituality with a world hungry for diverse and uplifting musical expressions. It is a path that not only honors tradition but also charts a course for a new era of international collaborations and influence in the gospel music fraternity.

Emmanuel Donkor


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