It is not surprising that the recently released Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) Nomination list had The Crusade shortlisted in 3 categories namely Hip life Song of the Year, Best Collaboration of the Year. The two artistes, individually secured nominations in Best New Artistes category. This surely is a testament to the work put in by newcomer Donzy and the ever familiar Kofi Kinaata, who was featured on the song. Aside the big score by the VGMAs, The Crusade, since its release, has taken a life of its own; becoming a toast of many.
The Crusade is a mid-tempo song with a church-like vibe. The chorus of the song is borrowed from an old yet popular Christian twi song which every church going individual knows. The church-esque appeal is enhanced by the familiar keyboard chords that floats beneath the chorus.
For those who might have not heard the song or seen the video, here is a quick recap. As could be inferred from the song title, it is a gathering of Christians to worship the Lord. A pastor (Donzy) assumed the podium and began preaching to the congregants. Pastor Donzy employs the services of an interpreter (Kofi Kinaata) who translated the words of Donzy from English to a predominantly spoken and understood local language-which was Fante.
Listening to the song, it is without much difficulty to realize the depth of creative in the composition of the song. From the concept of the song through to its delivered messages (or advice) to the humour spluttered on the song, one could put forth an argument that The Crusade passes as the most creative song released in the year 2015.
On the concept for the song, the two rappers tapped into a very old and common style of preaching, in vogue over half a century ago in Ghana. This style of preaching dates back to the 19th and 20th century and used primarily by the colonial missionaries to preach the gospel to the locals- a style which continues till date.
The arrival of the Europeans coupled with their desire to propagate the gospel meant they had to circumvent the language barrier. In other to do so, they handpicked and educated a few of the locals, mostly early converts to grasp a little of English –usually ‘broken’ English- to aid communication between these missionaries (colonialists) and the locals (colonializers).
The result of this arrangement was that, churches employed interpreters to convey the good news to these local church members. One of the evils of this practice was that, incidents of messages getting lost in translations were rampant. That is, because most of these interpreters were not very literate in English, they were unable to fully understand most of the messages thereby saying it their own way or style.
They (interpreters) had the tendency to choose a synonym from the local language that reflected certain English words being communicated. These interpreters end up transmitting messages as they understood; which mostly was inaccurate.
This style of preaching (a pastor and interpreter) is currently employed by some charismatic churches with very diverse congregants. The pastor would preach in English and an interpreter would in turn relay the messages in the local language(s) of the worshipers minus the issue of messages getting lost in translation.
Donzy and Kofi Kinaata tapped into the above mentioned style in The Crusade, where Donzy played the role of the preacher who delivered his message in English with Kofi Kinaata as the interpreter. Whiles Donzy was seriously preaching the word of God and emphasizing the need for God’s grace in peoples’ lives over an infectious highlife groove, Kofi Kinaata was busily botching up the message as he understood it with a dose of hilarity.
The Crusade is replete with many examples of misinterpretation of the preacher’s message and here are two examples. Note that Donzy speaks in English whiles Kofi Kinaata interpret the message in Takoradi (Tadi) Fante. I’ll translate Kinaata’s words for ease of appreciation.
Getting to the ending of the song, Donzy rapped: ‘Extend a helping hand to the less privileged/the street children and the orphans’. Kinaata comes out with his version of message rapping: According to him (Pastor) though the children are coming from the village they receive a rousing welcome (fans) whenever they are in the street’.
Now, here is another line. Donzy in wrapping up his words said ‘Who knows? Nobody knows/ Only God Knows’. Kinaata however takes the literal translation of the message explaining it as ‘Whose nose? Nobody’s nose/it’s God’s nose’.
If this doesn’t crack you up whiles describing how a message(s) could be lost in translation or yarned wrongfully then your sense of humor is indeed lacking.
For the two to draw inspiration from the old times when western education was at its inception and depict what was happening in the churches by way of miscommunication and misinformation earns The Crusade the most creative song of 2015 accolade. It may be the case that the use of a gospel hook and church like feel made the song very appealing. However, one cannot ignore the fact that the style of delivery-English and its accompanying Fanti misinterpretation made Crusade such a big hit.