By Adigun Temitope Idealism
An acquainted gospel music listener would definitely not need many words before recognizing Tope Alabi, the indigenous gospel artist, who has transformed the Yoruba gospel music to what it is and how it is much appreciated now.
The singer and songwriter introduced herself into the industry through her diverse soundtracks for Yoruba movies and her first album “Ore ti o Common” which was released in 2001. Ever since then, Alabi had released nothing less than 13-album to her credit.
Her recent 12-track album “Yes and Amen” released on 19th of March, 2018 has garnered lots of awards and have seen her transition a little bit into using of English Language. Quite unusual! To some critics, it is a technique for her to get more streams and gather more fans. Well, I can agree on the assertion due to the fact that the album just gave her plaques from Boomplay in recognition of the 10Million streams in 2 years of its release, while considering the fact that gospel music is very slow in this country, Nigeria.
Let’s do a track by track review of the project.
Just like most gospel music bodies of works, Tope Alabi introduced the album by praising God in a smoothly vocal harmonious level in the song “You are Worthy,” which would definitely leave the listeners praising God. Coming down to her transition into English, Alabi blended this song by switching from Yoruba to English. No doubt, it is one of the reasons this song is the second most-streamed song in the album.
In “Halleluyah,” Tope Alabi reassures God that she would never cease from singing Hallelujah to Him. Just like the usual Alabi we knew, she introduced indigenous gospel proverbs to supplement her storytelling style of singing. She did well in making the song soothing to the ears.
The Call and Response style used in the track “Olorun Ni Yio Maje” gave a very clean aligned production. The song is to validate that God would never change no matter what – He remains the same forever.
The synchronization from the note of the previous song to this “Talo Dabii Re” is not too good. The fault should be on the A&R while choosing and arranging the songs. However, I can’t use that to judge the originality in the song. Though it seems it was difficult because of the English language used in some parts of the song. The song is a rhetoric question which was also answered by the singer. “Who is like Jesus?” The change in harmony is another part that listeners should never take for granted.
The most streamed song in the album “Yes And Amen” which is luckily the same title as the album was awarded a plaque too. In the track, Tope Alabi professes the power in the word AMEN. She also said, “…anybody that doesn’t have God, have nothing.”
In this high praise tune “Iyin Ye o,” Tope Alabi sounded very much a part of her tune. The approach used is very much like her. This is where you see her switching vocals to smooth the background instruments.
Tope Alabi introduced “Ebami Ki” through an acapella. Here, she urged people to praise God on her behalf after reminiscing what He has done for her.
In continuation of her appreciation, which seems like an enjambment, Tope Alabi began “Gratitude” by stating what God has done and still continue to do for her. Her use of English blended this track and brought out the realness of the melodies.
“God The Almighty” is an assurance that God changeth not – He would be forever and ever. Tope Alabi tried to align the track with reggae style. This was totally not her style but if worked on, she would do well in this style.
In “Mo Mope Miwa,” Tope Alabi blended the elements of traditional Akan music with western instruments. This track is certainly a highlife mostly for parties and for people that love dancing in the Church. In the track, she reaffirmed that God only deserves praise.
“Mo Sope” is a continuation of “Mo Mope Miwa” but this track is more hymnic in tone. The delivery is very calm in presentation, which in a way makes it sound like a hymn.
The Bonus track which is the last song in the album, “Big God” is a confirmation of God’s reign and how big He is. In this track, Tope Alabi gave enough space for the instrumentalists to experiments themselves. The song is more like a live performance considering the time-frame (11:32 minutes.)