Senior Copy Editor INNOCENT ANORUO was at the third edition of the Catholic Praise Concert in Lagos which featured mostly African music and custumes.


Unlike previous editions of Catholic Praise Concert (CPC), the third edition hosted by St. Leo Catholic Church, Ikeja, Lagos on August 11, 2017, featured mostly traditional African music while most of the artistes appeared in African costumes.

It was the feast day of St. Claire of Assisi, an Italian saint who was born Chiara Offreduccio.

 ‘Stand up for Jesus’ by the host choir was the first song in the arena. But ‘Into Your Sanctuary’, which followed, was danced by youngsters decked in Nigerian costumes. The traditional dancers would not leave until they had danced to the Gloria.

Aside English, the select parishioners said the Prayer of the Faithful also in Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo languages.

Still at the Holy Mass, Offertory song was ‘Kabiyesi O Hosanna’ (Yoruba), Sanctus was ‘Mimo L’Olodumare’ (Yoruba) composed in Afrobeat, while Agnus Dei was ‘Eyenerong’ (Efik).

What happened when the concert started proved that even the artistes, whether by design or coincidence, were Africa-compliant.

With Chinyere Irechukwu a.k.a. Social Butterfly, one of the comperes, interjecting with her native Igbo language, the comedians, Judicious, Ukwa and Paloma, cracked ‘home-grown’ jokes.

St. Cecilia Choir of St. Thomas More, University of Lagos (UNILAG), who opened the concert stage, sang Igbo and English songs.

The Great CYON band led by Grace Bernard rendered ‘Come Let’s Praise the Lord, in Hausa language, accompanied by a guitar, viola and shekere. Interestingly, the band leader, who played the box guitar, told the congregation that she did not speak Hausa, but that the song was given to her in the Blessed Sacrament.

Victor and Friends that followed rendered Nathaniel Bassey’s ‘Imeela’ (Igbo). The song was also among Rev Sister Lucy’s renditions with her saxophone.

Before delectable Tessy Aniesi’s offering of ‘Amara’ (Grace in Igbo) in gospel reggae tune, the Charismatic Renewal Band of St. Leo had electrified the arena with a medly of mostly African songs.

Then Yoruba indigenous music came riding roughshod. First, it was Jesus Baby, who hit the stage with her talking drum style of worship. She left the stage for Rev. Fr. Lawrence Adelana (a.k.a. Fada Fuji) who played his signature Fuji tunes. Moving a bit away from Yoruba, St. Augustine Choir of St. Leo came with ‘Ezozo’ (Edo).

After the intercessory prayers, Kelar Thrillz, full of energy, pulled acrobatic stunts over its song ‘Egwu Eji’ (Igbo).

Kenny Kore, who appeared on the stage unannounced, started with ‘Trading My Sorrows’ from Darrell Evans’ 1998 pop album, Freedom, continued with Fuji beats, before he went on his knees with ‘Onye n’eme mma lekwe ikpere m n’ala, Chineke I di mma’. Then from him came the gyration characteristic of African indigenous churches like Cherubim and Seraphim. ‘Olori Oko’ (Yoruba translated to God of the harvest), the song he used to win award with Infinity came to him. When he was charged, he adopted pidgin English, calling God ‘O talk na do’. He ended his session with his signature ‘S’omore’, which he instantly remixed to ‘Mo’more’ because he believed members of the congregation now know.

Celebration of African songs continued with St. Charles Lwanga Choir of St. Leo’s who offered ‘Osenobua’ (Edo) and ‘K’anyi kelee Chineke’ (Igbo).

The event was graced by Most Rev. Msgr. John Aniagwu, who celebrated the opening Mass, Fr. Joseph Anyanwu, Fr. Wilfred Nwachukwu, Fr. Tony Onyeuwaoma, Fr. Lawrence Adelana, Fr. Anthony Adebambo and Fr. Everestus Oruche. There were also two seminarians and seven Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (EHJ) sisters.

Artistes that performed at the show include 13-year-old David Aduragbemi from 2013 Nigeria’s Got Talent (NGT), Rev. Fr. Tony-Maria Boluwaji, Joe Praize, Daniel Azuka (a.k.a. A-Strings, a Nigerian violinist based in Turkey) and Psalmos.

Others are Harmonic Syndrome, Clenz, Victus and Friends from UNILAG, Emmanuel and his group from St. Leo, Chikamji, Hillary George and SOTM Crew, and Nonso.

CPC is a one-day gospel music concert of praise offering to God for Christians. It features some of the best known music talents, who lead the audience in praise, worship, dance and special highlight performances. It has become an opportunity for Christians to gather, putting aside all ungodly differences, and lift their voices in worship to God.

The first edition was at Freedom Park on April 26, 2014, the second was at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in 2015. Then it was held in the evenings and outside the church environment. This third edition got the support of the Lagos Catholic Archdiocese, hence it was held in the church premises and overnight, opening and also ending with the Holy Mass.