Monday, August 8, 2011

Christopher Oyesiku Reviews 'Thomas Ekundayo Phillips: The Doyen of Nigerian Church Music' by Godwin Sadoh

[Thomas Ekundayo Phillips: The Doyen of Nigerian Church Music; Godwin Sadoh, D.M.A.; Bloomington, IN iUniverse Publishing (2009)]

Godwin Sadoh, D.M.A. is a Nigerian organist and composer who serves as Professor of Music at Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. His website is:
Christopher Oyesiku reviews Godwin Sadoh's book, Thomas Ekundayo Phillips: The Doyen of Nigerian Church Music, published in Bloomington, Indiana by iUniverse Publishing (2009):

“I feel honored to have been asked to write a review of this monumental book on Dr. Thomas Ekundayo Phillips, written by Professor Godwin Sadoh, Nigeria's most prolific published scholar on Modern Nigerian Music and who was also an ex-chorister of the Lagos Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ.” “I would like to give my own personal experiences of the great man as a choirboy and lay clerk under T. K. E. Phillips.”

“This book, the Doyen of Nigerian Church Music, gives an excellent record of Dr. T. K. E. Phillips' remarkable accomplishments. The first chapter of the book gives a very interesting and insightful account of the emergence of the African and contemporary churches in Nigeria. It includes the historical aspect to the emergence of the large number of various Christian denominations that I am certain will be of immense interest to not only Nigerian historians, but to members of the various churches interested in the origins of their church, and also to theologians in the various seminaries and departments of religious studies in the universities.”

“In chapter 5 of the book, we find a list of ex-choristers of the Lagos Anglican cathedral who came under the formidable musical tutelage of Dr. Phillips, and built on the foundation to become outstanding professional musicians in their respective fields. These are: Fela Sowande (organist and composer, 1905-1987); Christopher Oyesiku (bass and choral conductor, b. 1925); Samuel Akpabot (instrumentalist, composer, and musicologist, 1932-2000); Ayo Bankole (organist and composer, 1935-1976); and Lazarus Ekwueme (tenor, composer, choral conductor, and musicologist, b. 1936).

“In the last few chapters, Professor Sadoh analyzed creditably many of the choral compositions of Dr. T. K. E. Phillips, in a delightful, beautifully conceived and easy manner. The compositions were written over a span of forty years. In pages 179 and 180, a list of Phillips' compositions is given. These songs in my opinion are suitable for use in normal Anglican and other Christian church services. Some can be used in specific services for funerals, harvests, weddings, thanksgivings, Christmas, and other church festivals. There are enough works in the collection to prepare interesting and inspiring church services." [Fela Sowande (1905-1987) and Samuel Akpabot (1932-2000) are featured at]

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