In the world of gospel music, Monique Fabiyi Temitope, popularly known as Mo- nique, needs no introduction as a prolific singer, songwriter and recording artiste, who masterfully combines traditional African elements with her faith-driven message. He has created a unique niche for herself by infusing the rich sounds of African drums and percussions, including the talking drum, Omele, and B’ata, with the art of Yoruba Ewi (spoken poetry), to propagate gospel music in a culturally distinct and spiritually uplifting way.
The heart of Monique’s music lies in her ability to seamlessly weave together the spiritual and cultural aspects of her Yoruba heritage. One of the key instruments she employs is the talking drum, a ubiquitous symbol of African rhythm and communication. The talking drum, also known as “gangan” in Yoruba, has the unique ability to mimic the tone and nuances of human speech.
Monique uses this drum to convey powerful gospel messages with an African touch. Its rhythmic patterns often mirror the cadence of her lyrics, enhancing the emotional impact of her songs. Another instrument in Monique’s musical arsenal is the omele. This double-headed Yoruba drum adds depth and resonance to her compositions, grounding her music in the earthy, spiritual essence of African traditions. Its deep bass tones and sharp slaps can evoke a sense of reverence and awe, complementing the themes of salvation and redemption that are central to gospel music.
The bata drum, with its distinct hourglass shape and intricate patterns, is yet another integral component of Monique’s sonic tapestry. Often used in Yoruba religious ceremonies, the bata drum’s resonant tones provide a vibrant and joyful energy to her performances. This drum adds a celebratory dimension to her gospel music, reminding listeners of the communal and festive spirit that is deeply rooted in African culture.
What truly sets Monique apart is her skillful incorporation of Yoruba Ewi (chant) into her music. Ewi is a form of Yoruba poetry that is traditionally recited in melodic patterns. Monique’s mastery of Ewi allows her to deliver her gospel message in a poetic and captivating manner. Her lyrics, filled with spiritual wisdom and praise, resonate deeply with her audience, creating a powerful connection between the message and the listener.
Monique’s unique fusion of these traditional African elements with gospel music has not only garnered her a dedicated following but also opened doors for cross-cultural appreciation. Her music transcends linguistic and geographical boundaries, touching the hearts of people from diverse backgrounds. Through her artistry, she demonstrates that spirituality knows no borders and that the universal language of music can bridge cultures.