Music forms a large part of the entertainment industry. The art and science of doing music is in itself a formidable industry both locally and internationally. In fact music is part of our society. Almost every person, house, office, car has a gadget that generate music. It improves the ambience of the atmosphere, sets the mood in places and it is indeed food for the soul. Music has even been proven to have some therapeutic benefits to it. Therefore music is mutually beneficial to the artiste and the listener.
For music to be whole there are primary raw materials that are systematically inter-connected to deliver to the optimum. One of these aspects is the lyrics which forms written message. It informs the function of the song; to educate, inform, encourage, console, remind and so on. The rhythm is what generated the different genres of music like blues, country, rock, hip-hop and reggae; or in Kenya there are the like of genge, kapuka, Lingala, afro-fusion among others.Â This means that lyrics can be sang in any of these genres without being changed. There are also other styles that are a hybrid of two or more genres.
I will focus on gospel music especially in light of the expectation of generating relevant, positive and theologically appropriate lyrics. The early Christian artistes in Kenya wrote good lyrics for their songs because they were deeply rooted in the word of God. Note the timelessness of the hymns and their universality. Most contemporary gospel artiste have been accused for being shallow in their lyrics; throwing in â€œJesus â€œ or â€œGodâ€ here and there to give their song a â€˜gospel-ishâ€™ ring to tithe rest is just a theatrical display of high beats and vigorous dancing moves in their music videos.
There is even the perception that there is now a thin line between gospel and secular songs. There are others that claim that they sing neither; choosing to classify their music as â€œsocially-consciousâ€ music. Some people have come to appreciate secular songs in the 70sâ€™ and 80â€™ which were more informative than the current gospel songs. The elementary message carried in contemporary gospel lyrics is how God is able to help you achieve whatever you are doing. How God supports our selfish ambitions and makes our â€˜enemiesâ€™ go green with jealous. How by our own means we are able to worship God in whatever method.
These lyrics draw more attention to self than God. It is preposterous to think that God is like a jinn in lamp and we only need to do certain things in a bid to rub the lamp; and behold God is there asking us what He can do for us. It is targeted at worshiping God for what he has done (which is not wrong); but not completely for who He is. It is established some sort of give-and-take relationship between us and God. We have nothing to give God, apart from what He has already given us. Therefore it should be a concern for Christians that some of these songs are preaching a different gospel by propagating partial truths. There is need for taking these artistes under the wings of preachers who are grounded in the word of truth.
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