Oyekan’s lyrics and progression is usually associated with a massive level of predictability. It’s easy to predict the next slur, the next note, the next high pitch…
By John Augustina
Dunsin Oyekan has spooned out to the world what many people now refer to as Spirit stirrers in his first album for 2023, The Birth of Revival. Since the release of his first album, Code Red, in 2016, Oyekan has remained an inspiration to many. Oyekan’s life has offered the hope of survival to many in how he didn’t let grief overshadow his passion for God and music after the death of his wife in 2019. Dunsin Oyekan, till date, is pouring unsurmountable energy into his art, and the results show that his hard work is paying off. The Birth of Revival, Oyekan’s fifth album, is a sure mark of deliberateness.
The album contains 14 live-recorded tracks and has enjoyed a wide embrace barely four days after its release. The “eagle” as referred to by many, and lovers of Oyekan’s music, is known for scripting songs that leave people singing tirelessly. It is nearly impossible for any of Oyekan’s songs to not trend on the Gospel scene, and this album promises the same treat. The Birth of Revival resonates the message of the Coming King, and the need for believers to fellowship more with God. Every of the tracks tilts towards explaining the unimaginable possibilities ingrained in meeting with the Lord.
First up on the album is “Maranatha.” The track sufficiently explains Dunsin Oyekan’s intentions for writing the songs on the album. The song unveils the coming of the King which would sweep revival into the lives of people. The word “maranatha” interprets as “Come, Lord” in Latin, and in this track, Oyekan sings confidently about the unfailing coming of the Lord. The song is ushered in by an intro that is embellished with a harmonious conversation between drums and piano chords, after which Oyekan sings the verse of the song repeatedly. Being the shortest of the songs on the album, learning and singing it comes with little or no stress.
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Dunsin Oyekan clearly demonstrates his mastery of low and high pitches as he swings in between what seem like a crescendo in “Let Your Sound.” The song is a solemn rendition that speaks of the desire to see and hear God manifest in believers.
“Finger of God” starts with Oyekan urging the live audience to lift their hands in total surrendering to God. From a brief a moment of speaking in tongues, Oyekan and the backup singers move to singing the chorus that speaks of depending on God’s power with reckless abandon. The lyrics swim through deliberate confessions of what a believer is reduced to without the grace of God. With convincing vocals that are capable of capturing the heart of listeners, Oyekan declares that he is nothing without God’s grace.
Ever been submerged in the atmosphere of a song that you couldn’t help but pray in tongues? “Holy is the Lord” gives that effect, and creates a sober disposition that is capable of fostering deep reflection in listeners. Here, Oyekan describes the holy nature of God. The song bears the resemblance of a choral rendition in terms of instrumentals, voicing and progression, and has the most projected voice parting on the album.
In “Oh to Love You” (Conversation with the Father) Dunsin Oyekan tells a story of a conversation he had with God, where he asked God for more power and more fire but God, instead, told him all he needed was more love. Here, Oyekan passionately declares his desire to love God more and more. The track starts with a blend of subtle piano chords, audible guitar percussion, a faint clash of the cymbal and a sudden thrust of the bass drum and the floor tom.
“Who is on the Lord’s Side” is a blend of mid-paced Afrobeats that glows with unarguable brilliance. The song starts with Dunsin Oyekan inviting popular Nigerian Gospel singer, Mercy Chinwo, to the stage. Embellished with semi-tone modulation, the song gets intense by each modulation. Here, Oyekan declares the goodness of God that never fails.
“Crown of Souls” starts with a sudden intrusion by Oyekan’s voice. Delivering the first part of the song over subtle piano chords, Oyekan sings the praise of God and urges the live audience to join in the spontaneous moment of worship.
“When I See You” starts with a beautiful but short-lived Country intro that is soaked in audible acoustic scales, a whistling sound from the loop, piano chords and faint beats from the snare drum and cymbals. Here, Oyekan sings about what it would feel like to see Jesus face to face. The lyrics explore the untold fellowship that will spring forth when believers see God face to face.
With a brief moment of exhortation, Dunsin Oyekan starts “Stand in the Gap” by charging the audience to rise and take their place as intercessors, people who will stand in the gap and continually raise the sound of worship to God.
Next up on the The Birth of Revival is “I Will Stay.” This track bears the distinctive style, scales, and progression of Oyekan. An ardent lover of Oyekan’s music would quickly know what the next note would sound like. In this song, Oyekan encourages people to stay and fellowship with God. He passionately communicates the need to overflow with God’s living water, a stream that offers true satisfaction.
In “The Great Revivalist,” Oyekan proclaims the Holy Spirit as the great revivalist. In resonance with the title of the album, this track speaks of the ability of the Holy Spirit to change lives when people lift His name up.
Another powerful song on this album is “Yahweh be Praised.” Here, Dunsin Oyekan showers God with praises and talks about the greatness and the abilities of God. Running over smooth instrumentals, the lyricism and the progression portrays Oyekan’s ability to write and give brilliant arrangements to the sessions that are on the song.
Just as the title says, “Benediction” brings the album to a close. Here, Oyekan quotes the popular scripture that has now become the benediction of most churches all around. With constant repetition of the line, “may the love of the father, and the grace of the son, and the fellowship of the Spirit be with me,” Oyekan seals this song with his well-known signature “asher.”
One would easily decode that the songs on this album were written during devotions and Bible study. The lyricism paints the picture of a man who has met with God and is excited about sharing his experiences with the world.
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Oyekan’s lyrics and progression is usually associated with a massive level of predictability. It’s easy to predict the next slur, the next note, the next high pitch, and of course, his intros sound alike on most albums. There’s a unique semblance between the songs on the album, The Glory Experience, and the songs on this album. We could attribute this to his style. It gives him a taste of uniqueness no doubt, but at the same time, it eliminates suspense.
The songs could be laced with boredom unless listeners are deeply spirited and are focused on harvesting the exact experience from which Oyekan’s songs sprout from. Perhaps, subsequent albums should come in unfamiliar yet unique styles. Yet, The Birth of Revival is everything the Gospel stands for. The songs are kingdom-focused, and spirit refreshing. It encompasses the message of the coming of Jesus, the awakening of the spirits of believers, the call to worship, and continuous fellowship with God.
Due to the overwhelming presence with which each song comes, even Oyekan is unsure of the song that stands as his favourite on the album. He took to his Instagram page to say that he is yet to decide on his best song on the album, but currently enjoys “Oh to Love You“ and “Stand in the Gap.”
John Augustina is a writer, a journalist, a singer, loves people and currently writes for Afrocritik. You can connect with her on Facebook @John Tina and Instagram @johntina_tina.