Don't reduce us to local champions—Celestine Donkor

BY: Gifty Owusu-Amoah
Celestine Donkor speaks about poor patronage of Gospel songs in English
Gospel artistie, Celestine Donkor

AWARD winning Gospel musician Celestine Donkor is entreating Gospel music lovers in Ghana to embrace their songs rendered in English with the same enthusiasm they do to those in our local dialects.

Not doing this goes a long way to limit the potential of Gospel artistes to the confines of the country and virtually turn them into local champions hindering their prospects of being accepted on the global scene.

According to the Celestine Donkor, she has observed over the years, through the records and performance of her songs, both in local and English languages, that the former is patronised more, which to her had the tendency to stifle the progress of Ghanaian artistes reaching global market.

Speaking with the Graphic Showbiz in an interview, Celestine Donkor mentioned that she was making public her observations over the years.

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This is particularly at a time when her new song, No One (featuring Nigeria's Steve Crown) is being streamed heavily in other African countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania while same could not be said with Ghana. Our streaming numbers pale against theirs badly.

"Over the years, I have noticed a trend with my songs. Anytime I release a song that is 100 per cent English, it has low streaming and downloads from Ghana. Interestingly, it is a different story in other African countries.

"It's quite surprising that when songs are from Nigeria and they are 100 per cent in English, they are sung in churches and are always on people's playlists.

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"They are fully embraced but the moment an English song is coming from a Ghanaian artiste, it doesn't get the same reception.

"I believe it is something we need to look at seriously because the world is becoming a global village and English is a global language.

"If we want our Ghanaian artistes to go international, then we must patronise their English songs just like their local songs," Celestine Donkor said.

In 2020, Celestine Donkor's Agbebolo, which was predominantly in English, shot her status up in the Ghanaian gospel sector. It earned her many awards including Artiste of the Year at the 2021 National Ghana Gospel Music Awards.

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When her attention was drawn to Agbebolo, which is rendered in English, as one of her biggest songs in Ghana, she said: "Yes, Agbebolo is in English but it is laced with Ewe, a local language.

"You see, when the song has a touch of our local language, it is appreciated and well patronised. However, the moment it is purely an English song, patronage is low.

"I had quite an unpleasant experience with my song Supernatural in Ghana. So yes, for an artiste like myself, I make sure there are songs in both the local language and English on my album.

"All that I'm saying is that we should push and appreciate the English language ones just like we do with the local ones so that we don't make our artistes local champions because it's the direction we are probably unknowingly pushing them.

"If we can celebrate songs in English by foreign acts and make them popular by using them all over the place, we should do so and more for our artistes and the songs they do in English," she stated.