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Nigerian Art Music

Bode Omojola

7. Towards an Anthology of Nigerian Art Music

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1Art. Music in Nigeria is essentially a ‘literary genre’. For works in the idiom to be analysed, understood or performed by students, scholars and performers, they have to be available in clear and legible notation. As of now, most of the works in the idiom are yet to be published and exist only in scores, usually in the often illegible musical handwriting of their various composers. The only exceptions include the early choral and instrumental works by Sowande which were published in the 1950s and 1960s in the United States; a few works by Ekwueme and Akpabot, published in Europe and America; and works by such composers as Euba and Bankole, published by the now defunct Ife Music Editions. The need to collect, codify and publish musical scores by Nigerian composers of Art Music cannot be overemphasised.

2The fact that most of these works are unpublished has resulted in a very low circulation rate. Most of them are rarely featured in performances other than those by their composers. Secondly, it has been extremely difficult for students and scholars to lay their hands on the scores for study purposes. As a first step toward the publication of these scores, we have in this chapter compiled a fairly extensive list of works by Nigerian composers, giving such details as genre, composer, dates of publication (for those that are published) and year of composition, where such information is available. The list is by no means exhaustive but it contains a high percentage of existing, viable works by Nigerian composers. Works whose tides appear here are those which this author was either able to collect or verify the existence of. The list is presented therefore, as a guide for future researchers, performers and those who may be interested in editing and preparing these works for publication. The author possesses single copies of most of the works listed.


3Af’ebi G’adi (Reflections on village warfare) for S.A.T.B., 1980

4Dun Mararadun for S.A.T.B.


Vocal Works

5Gloria Sempra Deo for S.A.T.B. and piano

6Make Me a Channel of Blessing for S.A.T.B. and piano

7Yin Oluwa Iwo Okan Mi (Praise my Soul the King of Heaven)

8Eni To Ba Yo, Ko Mo Yo for soprano solo and piano, 1991

9E See ‘re Ko Dara for choral prelude for S.A.T.B., twin gong and rattles

10He Suffered Loss for solo voice and piano


Piano Works

11Igunmu Ko

12Iya (Mother) for piano, 1982

13Hot Cookie for piano, 1984

14Megida (Leader) for piano, marimba and vibraphone, 1984

15Five Contemporary Pieces (1985)

  1. Headache
  2. Complexity
  3. I feel good
  4. Last stage
  5. Thanksgiving

16Repercussion for percussion orchestra, 1985

17Ma Lo We Lokun Mo for piano, 1988

18African Time Line for Yoruba gong quartet, 1989

19Akiti Lo Le Ja (war tone poem) for a mixed ensemble of Nigerian and European percussion instruments, 1989

20Olo-n-toto for violin and piano

Chamber Work

21Series of Knowledge for flute, oboe and muted tuba, 1984


22Supplication (Cantata No. 1 op. 27) for S.A.T.B., organ/band


Choral Works

23Ewa E Je Kakorin (Come let us sing) 1988a, written for Ogbomosho Choir festival for S.A.T.B. and piano, 1988

24Wedding Anthem for S.A.T.B. a capella, 1989

25Biko Ba Je Ti Jesu (But for Jesus Christ) a capella, 1992

26Nitori Re ati Emi (For our sake) S.A.T.B. a capella, 1990

27Eje Ki Ife Ko Wa (Let there be love) for S.A.T.B. and piano, 1990

28Iya Jesu Lori Igi Agbelebu (Christ’s suffering) for S.A.T.B. a capella, 1987


Orchestral Works

29Overture for a Nigerian Ballet for small orchestra, 1959

30Scenes from Nigeria for small orchestra, 1962

31Three Nigerian Dances for string orchestra and percussion, 1962; published by Oxford University Press, 1977

32Ofala Festival for wind orchestra plus 5 African instruments, 1963

33Cynthia‘s Lament for soloists, wind orchestra and 6 African instruments, 1965

34Nigeria in Conflict for wind orchestra and 8 African instruments, 1973

35Three Roads to Tomorrow (sound track for the film of the same name) 1959

36Journey through Africa (sound track for feature film of the same name for U.S.T.A. Washington) 1965

Choral Works

37Jaja of Opobo folk opera in Efik, English and Ibo, 1972

38Two Nigerian Folk Tunes for choir and piano, 1974

39Te Deum Laudamus (Church anthem) for choir and organ, 1975

40Verba Christi cantata for 3 soloists, chorus and orchestra, 1977


Choral Works

41Gbo Ohun Awon Angeli (Hark, the Herald Angels Sing) Arr. for S.A.T.B. and piano, 1992

42Ife Jesu (The love of Jesus) for S.A.T.B.


43The Sailors for soloists, chorus, and piano, 1994


44Oluwa l’Oluso Aguntan Mi (Anthem) for S.A.T.B. and organ


45Ya Orule for piano, 1957

46Nigerian Suite for piano, 1957, Chappell, London, 1961

47Christmas Sonata for piano, 1959

48The Passion Sonata for piano, 1959; University of Ife Press, 1977

49English Winterbirds for piano, 1961

50Fugal Dance for the piano

51Toccata and Fugue for organ, 1960; published by University of Ife Press, 1978

52Three Toccatas for organ, 1967

Vocal Works

53Cantata in Yoruba : Baba Se Wa Ni Omo Rere (Father make us good children) for female chorus and chamber orchestra, 1958

54Sonata No 2 in C (Pàssion), 1958

55Song Cycle for Bass Baritone, 1958

56Beni Arunkarun Kan Ki Yio Sunmo Irere, 1959

57Three Part Songs for female choir, 1959; University of Ife Press, 1975

58Three Yoruba Songs for bass and piano, 1959; University of Ife Press, 1976

59Christmas Comes But Once a Year, 1959

60Keresimesi Odun De, 1960

61The Children of the Sun, 1961

62Choral Fugue, 1962

63Cantata in Yoruba : Jona for soprano solo, speaker in English, drum, piano, tambura and orchestra, 1964

64Canon for Christmas, 1964

65Little Jesus, 1964

66And Art Thou Come, 1964

67Eru O b’Omo Aje, 1964

68God Rest You Merry, 1966

69Lullaby, 1966

70Be Prepared (Girl Guide’s Jubilee Song) 1966

71Ten Yoruba Songs for voice and piano, 1966

72Angels from the Realms, 1966

73Ore-Ofe Jesu Kristi (The grace of Jesus) for unaccompanied choir, 1967

74The School Song (for Auntie Ayo’s Girls Comprehensive School)

75Salve Christe, 1968

76Ps 23, 1968

77Adura fun Alafia (Prayer for peace) for voice and piano, 1969

78Ona Ara (Mysterious ways) for full chorus, soloists, organ and Yoruba instruments, 1970

79Fun Mi Ni ‘Beji No. I for unaccompanied choir, 1970

80Fun Mi Ni ‘Beji No. II for unaccompanied choir, 1970

81Love Everlasting, 1972

82Mighty Africa Games, 1973

83Cantata in English and Yoruba : Festac for soloists, chorus and orchestra which includes woodwinds, brass and some Nigerian traditional instruments, 1974

84Festac Cantata No 4, 1976

85Grand Little One (words by Meki Nzewi)

86Fugal Dance for Piano

87Gbogbo Aiye E Yo E Ho


89Sweet Sweet Jesus (words by Meki Nzewi)


90L’Orun, 1962

91Three Toccatas based on traditional tunes, 1962

92E Tu Awon Enia Mi Ninu, 1962

93Ta Awon Orun Nro’hin, 1962

94Baba Wa Mbe, 1962

95E Wa Oluwa, 1963

96Pa Oju Re Mo, 1963

97L’Ojo Ekini Ose, 1963

98Enyin Araiye Eje Kayo, 1963

99Ago Re Wonni ti Lewa To, 1963

100The Risen Lord, 1964

101Isin Idapo Mimo, 1964

102Ebun Emi Mimo, 1964

103Nkan Wonyi Ni Mo Ti So, 1964


Vocal and Choral Works

104Sopuru Chineke Nima Mma Nke Idi Nso (O worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness) for S.A.T.B., 1958

105Nmu Nwa Golibe (Come, children with singing) for two-part chorus of women’s voices and solo voices, a capella) published in 1974 by Lawson- Gould Music Publishers, USA)

106Onye Nagara Nke oma Ka Madu Ahu Bu (Blessed is the man) for S.A.T.B. and piano, 1976

107Nwoyoyo for S.A.T.B. a capella

108Chineke No N’ulo Nso Ya (God is in His Holy Temple) for S.A.T.B. a capella, 1976

109Bulienu Obi Unu (Lift up your hearts) for S.A.T.B. a capella

110Zidata Mo Nso Gi (Send down thy Holy Spirit, O Lord) for S.A.T.B., 1989

111Nne Neku Nwa (O Mary, dear mother) for S.A.T.B.

112Elimeli (Igbo glee) for T.T.B.B.

113Nno (Welcome) for S.A.T.B.

114Kumbaya (Angolan folk song) for S.A.T.B. and piano

115The Turtle Dove (English folk song) Arr. for soprano solo and piano

116De Blin Man (Negro spiritual) Arr. for tenor/soprano solo, chorus, S.A.T.B. 1989

117Chi Chi Bud (Jamaican folk song) Arr. for soprano solo, S.A.T.B., 1970

118Let My People Go (Negro spiritual) Arr. for soprano solo, S.A.T.B. and piano 1966

119Eku Ewu (Yoruba folk melody) Arr. for soprano solo, S.A.T.B. and piano, 1976

120Olele (Yoruba melody) Arr. for soprano solo and piano

121Obi Dimkpa for S.A.T.B

122Hombe (Kenyan-Luo-folk song) Arr. for alto solo and S.A.T.B.

123Amara (the Grace)

124Three African Carols


125A Night in Bethlehem

Orchestral Work

126Nigerian Rhapsody for strings

Chamber Work

127Dance of the Black Witches for quintet



128Six Yoruba folk songs for voice and piano, 1959

129Two Yoruba folk songs for unaccompanied choir, 1959

130Three Yoruba songs for baritone, piano and iyalu, 1963, oriki scores

Piano and Chamber Works

131Igi Nla So for piano and four Yoruba drums, 1953, oriki scores

132Four Pictures from Oyo calabashes for piano, 1964

133Impressions from Akwete Cloth for piano, 1964

134Wind Quintet, 1967

135Ice Cubes for strings, 1970

136The Wanderer for violin, cello and piano, 1960

137Scenes from Traditional Life for piano, University of Ife Press, 1977

138String Quartet, 1957

139Saturday Night at Caban Bamboo, 1964

Orchestral Works

140Introduction and Allegro for orchestra, 1956

141Abiku No I for Nigerian instruments, 1965

142Four Pieces for African orchestra, 1966

143Olurombi for symphony orchestra, 1967

144Abiku No. II for three part choir and Nigerian instruments, 1968

145Dirges for speakers, singers, and African instruments, 1972

146Alantangana for singers, dancers and Nigerian instruments, 1975

147Two Tortoise Folk Tales for speakers and Nigerian instruments, 1975

148Morning, Noon and Night for singers, dancers and Nigerian instruments, 1967

149Chaka for soloist, chorus and orchestra, 1970



150The Rascals

151Opu Jaja



Part Songs

153Nnwa Aramonu for S.A.T.B. a cappella

154Onina Manya Ogo for S.A.T.B. a cappella, 1972

155Ajama-Kwara Ngwongwo for S.A.T.B. with piano, 1979

156Anoro Anokwukwu for S.A.T.B. a cappella

157Nma-wo for S.A.T.B. a cappella, 1973

158O Se Va (folksong arrangement) for S.A.T.B. a cappella

159Ogun Salewa (folksong arrangement) for S.A.T.B. a cappella

160Ozuitem Obodomu (folksong arrangement) for S.A.T.B. a cappella

161Eringa (folksong arrangement) for S.A.T.B. a cappella

162Wa Aramonu for S.A.T.B.

163Dim Oma (folksong arrangement) for S.A.T.B.

Solo Songs

164Nwa Mgbogho Delu Uli (folksong arrangement) for voice and piano

165Ife Di Na Oba (folksong arrangement) voice and piano

166Afufu Uwa for voice, flute and piano, 1975

167Nyarinya (Hausa) for soprano solo and piano

168Marna G’abara Mu Mba for soprano solo and piano

169The Blue Nocturne for piano

170War Dance for piano


171The Vengeance of the Lizards, 1966

172Dr Feeles, 1968


173Ayi Le Legwumia for S.A.T.B

174Inine for S.A.T.B.



175The Moonsage Hero for soloists, chorus and instrumental ensemble

176A Drop of Honey for soloists, chorus and instrumental ensemble

177Things Fall Apart (operatic version of Chinua Achebe’s popular novel) for soloists, chorus and instrumental ensemble

178Kunje for soloists, chorus and instrumental ensemble

179We the People for soloists, chorus and instrumental ensemble

Orchestral Work

180Death and the Dance of the Spirits (a symphonic poem)

Piano Works

181Searching No. 2 Maiden’s Clappers

182Seaching No. 3 Youth Dance


183University of Nigeria Song for S.A.T.B.

184Jemine (Itsekiri folk song)

185Things Fall Apart (Musical Theme) 1974

186Egwu Atilogwu, 1990


187Two Songs for Africa for S.A.T.B.

188Uwa Tate

189Anta fiong


190Anseye Igbeyawo (Yoruba wedding music)

191Mayo Wa (Yoruba hymn book)



192Ode for a New Morning for soloists, chorus and piano, 1989

193Kings for Sale (to a libretto by Oyin Medubi) for soloists, chorus, piano and Nigerian instruments, 1990

194Odyssey of an Innocent for soloists, chorus, piano and wind instruments, 1994


195Beyond the River for soloists, chorus and piano, 1988

Choral Works

196Abi Jesus (The birth of Jesus) for S.A.T.B. and piano, 1988

197Omo Mimo (Holy child) for S.A.T.B. and piano, 1990

198Ona Kan (One way) for S.A.T.B. and piano, 1991

199Baba Olorun Wa (Our Heavenly Father) for S.A.T.B. and piano, 1991

200Eyin Oluwa (Praise the Lord) for SATB and piano, 1991

201Wade in De Water (Negro Spiritual) Arr. for SATB and piano, 1989

202Oyigiyigi (Yoruba melody) Arr. for S.A.T.B. and piano, 1992

203Eje K’omode Ko Wa (Yoruba melody) Arr. for S.A.T.B. and piano, 1992

204Sunnyside of Life (Popular melody) Arr. for S.A.T.B. and organ, 1992

Orchestral Work

205Harmattan Overture for full orchestra, 1980

Chamber Work

206Adieu for clarinet and piano, 1980

Piano Works

207Three Nigerian Dances, 1988

208Shades of Agony, 1994

209Ofa Ife (Arrow of Love) for baritone solo, piano and iya-ilu, dundun (hour- glass drum), 1994


Organ Works

210Kyrie, 1955 Chappell, London

211Oyigiyigi, 1958, Ricordi, New York

212Gloria, 1958, Ricordi, New York

213Ka Mura, 1945, Chappell, London

214Prayer, 1958, Ricordi, New York

215Obangiji, 1955, Chappell, London

216Joshua Fit de Battle of Jericho, 1955, Chappell, London

217Yoruba Lament, 1955, Chappell, London

218Jesu Olugbala, 1955, Chappell, London

219K’a Mo Rokoso

220Oba Aba Ke Pe

221Responses in “A”, 1959

Choral Works

222The Wedding Day for S. S. A. with piano, 1957, RDH

223Sometimes I. Feel Like a Motherless Child for S. A.T.B. a cappella, 1955, Chappell, London

224My Way’s Cloudy for S. A.T.B. with piano, 1955, Chappell, London

225De Ol’ Ark’s a-Moverin’ for S.A.T.B.B. a cappella with tenor solo, 1955, Chappell, London

226Same Train for S.A.T.B.B. a cappella, 1955, Chappell, London

227Steal Away for S.A.T.B.B. a cappella, 1955, Chappell, London

228Roll de Ol’ Chariot for S.A.T.B.B. with piano and rhythm combo, 1955, Chappell, London

229All I do for S.A.T.B.B. with piano and rhythm combo, 1961, Ricordi, New York

230Goin’ to set down for S.A.T.B. a cappella with soprano solo, 1961, Ricordi, New York

231Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray for S.A.T.B. a cappella with soprano solo, 1958, Ricordi, New York

232De Angels Are Watchin’for S.A.T.B. a cappella with soprano and tenor solo1958, Ricordi, New York

233Nobody Knows de Trouble I See for S.A.T.B. a cappella, 1958, Ricordi, New York

234Wheel, Oh Wheel for S.A.T.B. a cappella, 1961, Ricordi, New York

235Wid a Sword in Ma Han’for S.A.T.B.B. a cappella, 1958, Ricordi, New York

236Sit Doum Servant for T.T.B.B. a cappella and tenor solo, 1961, Ricordi, New York

237Out of Zion for S.A.T.B. with organ, 1955

238St. Jude’s Response for S.A.T.B. with organ

239Oh Render Thanks (hymn-anthem) for S.A.T.B. with organ, 1960

240Nigerian National Anthem (an arrangement) for S.A.T.B. with organ, 1960

Solo Songs

241Three Songs of Contemplation for tenor and piano, 1950, Chappell, London

242Because of You for voice and piano, 1950, Chappell, London

243Three Yoruba Songs for voice and piano, 1954, Ibadan

Orchestral Works

244Four Sketches for full orchestra, 1953

245African Suite for string orchestra, 1955, Chappell, London

246Folk Symphony for full orchestra, i960


247Four Igbo Songs for soprano and piano, 1972

248Two Igbo Songs for soprano and piano, 1973

249Four Nigerian Dances for piano, 1976

250Lustra Variations for piano, 1976

251Sketches for piano, 1977

252Masquerade for piano and iyalu, 1980

253Ritual Procession for African orchestra, 1981

254Fanfare for wind orchestra, 1981

255Watermaid for soprano and orchestra, 1983

256Oja for wind quintet, 1982


257Ma gbagbe ile (Compositions and arrangements of folk songs) Oxford University Press, London, 1963

258Orin Yoruba (compiled by J. Ajibola) University of Ife Press, 1974

259This compilation consists of 71 compositions by various church composers (including Ajibola)

260Fayo Sin Ibadan, 1985

261A compilation consisting of 102 compositions by various church composers and in use at Saint Stephen’s Church, Ibadan


Sacred Choral Music

262Versicles and Responses

263Te Deum

264Psalm 150

265Nunc Dimittis



266Chukwu Gozi’e Gichebe Gi for S.A.T.B., unaccompanied

267Onye Nmenie for S.A.T.B., unaccompanied

268Chukwu No Rue Ebigh’ebi for S.A.T.B., unaccompanied

269Chukwu Nke Bi n’Igwe for S.A.T.B., unaccompanied

270Chere Oge Ya for S.A.T.B., unaccompanied

271Rue Ole Mgbe for S.A.T.B., unaccompanied

272Obu n’Ututu m’Obu n’Anyasi for S.A.T.B., unaccompanied

273I Nenwegh Oyiri for S.A.T.B., unaccompanied


274Yoruba Sacred Songs, London, n.d.

275This compilation consists of 57 compositions by various church music composers including T.K.E. Phillips


276Ore Ofe Kristi for S.A.T.B. and organ

277Nipe Ife Olugbala for S.A.T.B. and organ


278Iwe Orin Itunu (Book of Pleasant Songs) — A collection of numerous sacred compositions in Yoruba in unison.


Choral Works

279Emi Ogbe Oju Mi Soke Wonni (I will lift up my eyes) for soprano solo, and organ

280A Nwa for S.A.T.B. and organ

281Magnificat in C for S.A.T.B. and organ

282Awa Ma Dowo Re for S.A.T.B. and organ

283Yoruba Cantata for S.A.T.B. and organ

284Ps 87

285Ps 126

286Ps 148


288Magnificat in C in Yoruba

289Ninu Agbala Olorun Wa

290Festival Processional Hymn

291Nigeria National Anthem

292A Choral Suite



294Memoirs of Childhood for piano

295Moonlight Dances for piano

296Theme and Variation for piano

297Aka Watageria Arr. for S.A.T.B. and piano

298Four Solo Songs for voice and piano

© IFRA-Nigeria, 1995

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