While other musicians and artistes see piracy as a canker-worm eating deep into the arts industry, Deaconess Deborah Adebola Fasoyin the leader of the Christ Apostolic Church Good Women
Choir,which started reigning in the 1980s after the release of their popular song Odun Nlo Sopin (The year is going to an end),in 1979, sees it as a good way of propagating the gospel. ESTHER BAKARE met her.
Born in Oyo town about 70 years ago to the family of the Afolabis as the only girl and the last among four, Mrs Fasoyin started her singing career as a youth and member of the choir at St Michael Anglican Church, Oyo, but she never knew she would end up leading the CAC Good Women Choir.
“I never knew I would end up in CAC as a gospel singer until I got married to my husband in 1961 who is a CAC member and automatically I have to join the Women Group”, she said.
The group according to her started releasing their album in 1977 with the first one titled Halleluyah oh Halle which was followed by 24 others but the release of Odun Nlo Sopin which she has been nicknamed even by wife of Lagos state Governor Mrs Abimbola Fashola and his Deputy Princess Sarah Sosan, brought the group to a limelight .
But after the release of Mo nwoju re ( I look unto you) which the group sang for women looking unto God for the fruit of the womb, speculations started going about that Fasoyin was a barren woman and that was what prompted the release of the album.
“The story is not new to me because I remember when we were invited for outing then women would come to me and said we learnt you were barren may God give you a child and I would reply Amen. Even my children when they were in school, their room mates who never knew they were my children would be arguing among themselves especially when they listened to that song that the woman who sang this song doesn’t have a single child and my children would ask, who told you and how did you know and after much argument my children would introduce themselves and the room mates would be shocked and kept quiet. The thing is every musician faces different rumours.”
But surprisingly, Fasoyin said she already had her four children before that song was released.
“My joy was that the song met its target because when I was working at Kingsway Stores, in the 80s, after the release of the song in 1979, so many women brought their babies to me and said ‘mummy take your child’ and I would ask how do you mean and they would tell me after listening to the song God opened their wombs and they gave birth to their babies, some after nine years and some over 15 years of childlessness and God answered them through the song.”
On whether she acquired her fortune through her singing career with the group, Fasoyin said the group was not singing for money as all they were doing then was to propagate the gospel and they made sure any where they were invited to sing they did it free of charge.
She said all the members in the group were working class as she herself worked for 29 years with the then Kingsway Stores, Ibadan, Oyo State from 1958 to 1986.
On the group’s relationship with Dr Bola Are who was also a gospel singer reigning at that period, Deaconess Fasoyin said the music icon was not a threat to them at all during that period because she was a soloist while they were a group under a church.
She said when the group started in the 70s they were about 104 members but after the creation of states in 1976, it was reduced to 34 when some of the members followed their husbands to their states.
“We were also reduced to 12 after some among us pulled out to start their own albums, that was the only trying period I can say the group faced but we thank God it all worked out for our progress.
We still go for outings, age is not a barrier at all even though all of us are now old in fact four of us are now late, but February this year we were invited to perform somewhere,others are in Ibadan, I am the only one residing in Lagos”, she said.
She said the group stopped releasing albums in 1995 having released 25 since 1977.
According to her it is only those gospel musicians who sing for money that are embittered with piracy but for her group, their main reason for singing is to preach the gospel of Jesus.
“Piracy is an indirect way of propagating the gospel, it is the song that is interesting that they pirate and these pirates are helping us spread the cassettes to where ordinarily they would not have reached”, she said.
Deaconess Fasoyin also talks about the crises that rocked Christ Apostolic Church as a sign of the end time which is not only peculiar to the church alone but all others.
“CAC crisis is all about end time signs, it shows the coming of Jesus Christ is at hand but it is not peculiar to CAC alone even Anglican and Methodist where some of their youths are breaking out, so it is not only Christ Apostolic Church but thank God we are one fold under one Shepherd”, she said.
On the upcoming stars who are mingling gospel with other wordly songs, Fasoyin said it is not their fault but the situation of the country.
“We can’t blame them but in a situation where a graduate is looking for job for years and he or she can not get employed he just finds himself singing just to make money, but I do tell some of them who come to me for advice that if you are going into the industry to make money you won’t last but if you want to propagate the gospel through your songs then the sky is not your limit”, she said.
Among the gospel musicians whom she said she is proud of include Dupe Olulana, Timi Osikoya and Dr Bola Are.
Mrs Fasoyin who clocked 70 in March this year said she loves people calling her Sisi (young lady) because at 70 life has just started.
“Abraham started his ministry at the age of 75 when he heard the call of God, so at 70 I am still young and I still dance very well, I perform music at Daystar Christian Centre as well. “.