Saturday, March 12, 2011

'Christopher Oyesiku: Preeminent Nigerian Choral Conductor,' by Godwin Sadoh, Reviewed by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

[Christopher Oyesiku: Preeminent Nigerian Choral Conductor; Godwin Sadoh; iUniverse Publishing, New York (2011)]

Godwin Sadoh D.M.A. is a Nigerian composer and author who teaches at Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama.

“Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko is a Nigerian music educator, church musician, African musicologist, broadcaster, song writer, and singer. She received her Ph.D. degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1981, making her the second Nigerian woman to earn a Ph.D. in Music.”

Review of Christopher Oyesiku: Preeminent Nigerian Choral Conductor
"'Christopher was bigger than life itself!' That was my first impression of the man that I later called, 'The Voice' in Nigeria. Christopher was the Baritone per excellence. He is now retired. I heard him sing last in the late 1990s and he was going as strong as ever then. It was not a surprise to me when I heard that a book about his life and work has been written. I rushed to buy the book, after reading it, I determined to be among the first to review it. Thank God that Godwin Sadoh has made it his passion and driving force to document Nigerian Western trained and performing musicians dead and alive. It is certainly a work of Love, a much needed work of love.

“The first time I heard Oyesiku sing was on the stage of the City Hall in Lagos. He walked on stage, in a white tuxedo, black trousers, and a black bow. He towered over everybody from that stage, and when he opened his mouth, there was complete silence. He sang, and the audience basked in the velvety smoothness of his voice. He was a master of voice control, balance, and power. I had just returned from Italy myself after training in bell canto, and watching Oyesiku sing that day gave me hope that I might one day do as well as he had done. I later had numerous occasion of singing on the same stage with him, and it was always an electrifying and humbling experience for me.”

“He was among the first Nigerians that went abroad to study music, because at the time, there were no schools of music in Nigeria, and anyone who studied music then had to do so abroad. It was also the responsibility of those early musicians to come back to Nigeria and teach and raise the standards of music in the country. This is what they all did. He set about doing all that he could to create a musical presence in Lagos. I met him as the head of the music department of Radio Nigeria where he already had a choir, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation Choir, made up of some of the best voices in Lagos. He was my boss. With performing, organizing concerts, setting up, and working with choirs. He was the busiest musician in Lagos.

“Christopher Oyesiku, The book, details most of his works as teacher, performer, choral director, and a man of the arts. Of all the honors that were bestowed on him, the highest in my opinion was when the University of Ibadan made him their Artist-in-Residence. I believe that was his crowning glory.” “Oyesiku was the greatest. I do not know of any other musician in Nigeria today who can boast of, or put up a claim close to what he did, or the legacy he left.”

No comments: