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I nearly fainted when I was chosen to lead Good Women Choir – — Mama Fasoyin, ‘Odun Nlo Sopin’ singer

"I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED AS ONE WHO TOUCHED LIVES" — MAMA FASOYIN,”ODUN NLO SOPIN” SINGER

Mrs. Deborah Adebola Fasoyin is the leader of the renowned Good Women
Choir which has been in existence for over 40 years and noted for
sonorous hits such as Halleluyah and Odun Nlo Sopin. In this interview,
the septuagenarian speaks about the music group, family and other
things.

Background

I am a native of Oyo town and the youngest child and only girl of six
children so I have five brothers. For my elementary education, I
attended Saint Andrews Demonstration School, Oyo, although I didn’t
finish from there because my father; being an illiterate felt there was
no need to educate the girl-child since she will end up in the kitchen.
My brothers therefore took me to Jos so that I could continue my
education. I spent one year there, another in Ogbomosho and Lagos. They
were just passing me on so that I would not stay in Oyo and my parents
would not spoil me. I ended up finishing my primary school in Lalupon,
near Ibadan. I went to primary school in five different towns. I
thereafter went to Anglican Girls’ Modern School, Oritamefa, Ibadan and
after my first year there, nobody could send me to school again so I had
to go and teach for a year in a village in Oyo Town before I came to
Lagos and joined Kingsway Stores where I spent 29 years as a sales clerk
before I retired. However, when I got married, I had to go and meet my
husband in Ibadan, so you can say that fate brought me back to the town.
Luckily too, I had all my children before Good Women Choir started.

Establishment of Good Women Choir

Let me start by saying it is Christ that leads the choir, not me. It
is just a privilege that I am the leader. Good Women Choir started way
back with the Christ Apostolic Church, Ibadan and prior to 1975, they
were known as the Good Women Association which was a gathering of women
in the church. If your spouse is a member of CAC, automatically, you are
a member of the association as a woman. Every year, we hold conventions
in Lagos, Kano, Kaduna and other places. I was an Anglican before I
married my husband who is a member of the CAC. The problem we had then
was that when we arrived in any town, it was always difficult to get a
choir to sing and make us feel relaxed. Consequently, in 1975, when we
came back from Kano, the Good Women Association decided that we should
have our own choir. An announcement was made in all branches of the
church that every branch should send two educated members who are
interested in music to make up the Central choir. We gathered and we
were about 100 plus at the time and started practising. I was already a
member of the choir in the Anglican Church before I joined the CAC Eleta
where I continued. I was one of the people sent to the Central Choir.
Before each convention, we tell our members to read the Bible, pray and
bring songs. We’ll look through and as led by the spirit, choose from
the compositions. At a stage, we were told that we could wax a record.

Leading the group

It was divine intervention because up till date, it frightens me.
When we had the first anniversary of the Good Women Choir, I arrived at
the church, saw the pamphlet which read, “Leader-D.A. Fasoyin.’’ I
nearly fainted because no one called to tell me that I would be the
leader.  I felt that every member of the group at the time was qualified
and could lead. I was singing soprano and we had alto and tenor singers
as well. I was really surprised, so it was really God’s intervention.

Interest in Music

That’s the miracle because my parents were illiterates. One day, in
church, we wanted to have our harvest and the choir was to sing. I was
only 10 years old and I had been exposed to music. Someone was asked to
dance in a particular way. I think it was called Rhumba dance and this
girl simply refused to learn. As an onlooker, I told them that, ‘‘Look, I
can do this.’’ I did it so well and became a member of the choir at age
10. This was fuelled by the fact that I had personal interest in
singing and the interesting thing is that all my brothers (I’m the
youngest of six children and only girl) were organists and singers and
they encouraged me to explore my musical side.

Challenges

The only challenge that I can remember vividly was after recording
our third release; Mon Woju Re Olorun Mi, one of us; a tenor singer was
asked to come out of the group to lead.

New faction

We went to God in prayer on the mountain and told Him that if what
happened was His will, He should help them to continue because the
ultimate is to change lives but if their mission is to bring us down, He
should intervene. Of course, people were deceived. Many bought the
factional albums because they thought that it was released by us so
there was some kind of confusion but later, after the third album, they
knew the difference and stopped buying their albums. Some of your
classical hits in the group include Halleluyah, Odun Nlo Sopin among
others. Did you commission songwriters to write the lyrics perhaps?

Our system of composition is different from others because it is a
group. Whenever we want to go into the studio, we assemble and tell our
members that we want to go for another release and everybody should
bring what they have composed. We will bring them together and by the
spirit of God, we would look at which ones can make the next release.
After doing that, we keep other compositions for the next album.

Fullfillment

I am just 77 years old and I am so glad that after all these years,
we are still relevant as a group because you can imagine a group that
took a break for 10 years, came back and people still accepted them;
it’s amazing and it’s a miracle. I am so happy within me that I am still
useful for God because I am now a member of Daystar Christian Centre
where I am the President of the Golden Mothers, which is for those who
are 50 years and above.

Receiving Royalties

Yes we do and we share it even among deceased members’ families
because they worked for it. We were scared of collecting it initially
because of what God had told us and said we didn’t want to collect
still. We told our manager to help us buy instruments so that anywhere
we go, we won’t have to borrow. When Odun Nlo Sopin started bringing in
money, we told him that we needed a bus.  These days, those who go into
gospel music expect quick money. I often tell people who come to me for
advice that, ‘If you know that you want to propagate the gospel, don’t
think about money.’’ Seek the anointing first, then money will follow.
If you think about the money first, your album may do well in the market
but it won’t last and that’s the truth but if you have the mind-set of
spreading the gospel in your heart, things will work. Youths of today
want quick money and rush to the studio to record an album. When it
comes out, it doesn’t even have substance. You cannot blame most of
them, there are no jobs after they leave school.

Originator of  Odun Nlo Sopin?

Thank you for that question, it is actually a CAC composition which
dates back to the early 1940s. It was a hymn that was sung at the end of
each year by all CAC churches but we added only two verses to the
original composition so one can’t really say who wrote it but many have
said that we made it famous and we thank God for that. We also recorded
the song, Gbakoso(Take Charge) during the regime of General Ibrahim
Babangida which reflected what was going on in the country at that time.

Family Support

My second son is our manager now and my two daughters have also joined the choir.

Me Time

I read the Bible and pray.

What I want to be remembered for

I want to be remembered as one who touched lives. I feel fulfilled
when I hear people listening to Odun Nlo Sopin over the years. I also
want to finish strong and empty before I go and meet my creator.

Source: PUNCH

Tireni Adebayo

Tireni Adebayo is the Editor of Kemi Filani News.She has BSC in Mass Communication from the Redeemer's University and M.A in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos (2014 - 2015) where she majored in Public Relations and Advertising and Digital Media.  When she is not writing, she is either listening to music or reading her favorite books.Tel: +2348000000901 Address: Herbert Macaulay, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria Email: [email protected]

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