Edited by Azizi Powell
This is the Part 2 in a four part series on the the African Gospel song "Jehovah, You Are The Most High God". That praise song is also known as "You Are The Most High God" and "Most High God".
This post focuses on the various tempos & rhythms that are used for renditions of "Jehovah, You Are The Most High God". This post also focuses on the custom of dancing in church to the uptempo versions of this song, and other uptempo religious songs.
Part 1 provides a general overview of "Jehovah, You Are The Most High God" and also features several significant videos of that song.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/01/africa-gospel-song-you-are-most-high.html for Part 1 of this series.
Part 3 of this series includes information about the call & response structure the song "Jehovah, You Are The Most High God". Part 3 also includes the text to (lyrics of) two versions of this song.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/01/lyric-examples-of-jehovah-you-are-most.html for Part 3 of this series.
Part 4 features four additional video examples of "Jehovah, You Are The Most High God" from throughout the world.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2012/01/african-gospel-song-you-are-most-high.html for Part 4 of this series.
Throughout this series I may use the abbreviation JYATMHG to refer to Jehovah, You Are The Most High God". Embedded videos are assigned a number which is used throughout this entire series.
"You Are The Most High (God)" is a Gospel song from Nigeria which has a distinctive tune. There are a number of different rhythms for that song and tempos for that tune ranging from slow to very fast.
TEMPO & RHYTHM
Unfortunately, to date, besides for a few comments on YouTube video threads, I've not found any online information about the history of this song, and I can't determine from those online comments which lyrics or tempo was used for the earliest forms of "Jehovah You Are The Most High God".
African commentaters on YouTube video comment threads for the song "Jehovah, You Are The Most High God" consistently indicate that they are most familiar with versions of that song which have an uptempo beat. And, it appears that many African and and other commentaters to the numerous "You Are The Most High" video threads prefer uptempo versions of this song to versions with slower tempos.
Ggenba Wise's version of "JYATMHG" (Video Example #1 in Part 1 of this series) has what I would describe as a mellow, jazz-like flavor. In contrast, African American Tye Tribbett's version of the same song(Video Example #2 in Part 1 of this series) is much slower, and the versions recorded by Ghanaian Lenny Akpadie and (Ghanaian?) Kofi Thompson (Video Example #3 & #4 in Part 1 of this series) both have an uptempo African-Caribbean jazz flavored, danceable rhythm. Indeed, Kofi Thompson refers to his popular version as an "Africaribb medley." Unfortunately, I can't determine what genre/s of African and Caribbean music is used for that "Africaribb" medley. I think the Caribbean rhythm might be Reggae, but I'm not certain of that. I also think that this version of "You Are The Most High God" sounds like it's Reggae:
Video Example #5: Jehovah... The most High
Uploaded by Uxtin Chase on Mar 6, 2009
Ordained pastor, Evangelist Sunday Eromosele is a gospel song writter, producer and a Solo artist whose mission and compassion is to reach out to the lost souls. His latest CD and DVD album tittled: "Jehovah... The Most High" is particularly aimed at praises and soul winning through his style of Music with an anointed gift from God.
In possible contradiction to my belief that that version of "JYATMHG" is Reggae, a commentater on that YouTube video's viewer comment thread wrote "I like d guitar solo, may god bless u , he played abit of blues nd jazz nd it endin up nicely wid a congolese rhythm i love it, i rate him".
- Alabassman1; http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=7lO9djSOaJs ; 2010
Here's a link to a version of "JYATMHG" that is clearly labeled as being Reggae version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOZov1YasuI Church gospel song reggae christian music - Jehovah you are the most High
I'd give the prize for the fastest tempo for "Jehovah, You Are The Most High God" to this Columbus, Ohio's church group:
Video #6: You Are The Most High
Uploaded by Erwin Boateng on Feb 19, 2008
The Power of God Moving
That video's summary doesn't indicate whether the group members are African or African American or both. A commentater shared that this video was taped at the group's rehearsal.
In contrast to that fast tempo rendition, here's a slow, acoustic guitar version of "You Are The Most High God" from praise2life:
Video #7: Jehovah
Uploaded by praise2life on Mar 3, 2009
Song on the cd...decided to post..its to bless someone and i hope you are ..blessed by it i mean...
From the vocalist's (praise2life) YouTube page, I've surmised that she is from the Yoruba ethnic group in Nigeria.
In response to a query about how she played this song, praise2life wrote:
"On the piano u play G:C:D:G...but on the guitar i just play CFCG chords..which is the progression i used for the song..hope that helps ..God bless..."
DANCING IN CHURCH
Videos of uptempo versions of "Jehovah, You Are The Most High" invariably feature people dancing in church or elsewhere while that song is being sung or played. The dance movements shown in those videos are the same as those performed for many contemporary social dance songs. Furthermore, persons writing on YouTube video threads for "JYATMHG" often post comments indicating that they were dancing while listening to the song, or they write that the song makes them dance and praise God. My interpretation of that last comment is that it may mean "The song makes them want to dance to praise God."
For many Americans seeing people doing what we assume are social dance movements in church to religious music may seem inconguent. However, since dancing, singing, and playing instrumental music are intricately intertwined in African traditions, it's not surprising that dancing to religious songs appears to be the norm in many African Christian churches. In conjunction with the rise of "praise & worship" singing in American and other Christian nations throughout the world, "praise dancing" is the term used for dancing in church. This purposeful form of dancing is different than spontaneous dancing while "getting happy" (feeling the Spirit) in Church of God In Christ (COGIC) and other churches.
Scenes of people dancing are interspersed in the official video for Kofi Thompson's hit contemporary Gospel song "You Are The Most High" (video example #3 in Part 1 of this series). Also, here's a video of a youth church choir performing this song. I'm including this video to as an example of how religious congregations may respond to the fast tempo of this song (and other religious songs) and how congregations may respond to the songs with slower tempos (as demonstrated when the tempo slows at the end of this particular song).
Video #7: CUMI Youth choir - You are the most high (live)
Uploaded by Gabriel Amadi on Mar 13, 2011
The youth choir ministering the amazing song, Jehova you are the most high at 2:30am.
A commentater wrote that "At The End When She Was Improvising And Adlibing It Was Just Beautiful :)
-lilliz12; September 2011
This quote about improvising and adlibing lines to this song is a good segue into Part 3 of this series which focuses on two examples of lyrics used for the song "Jehovah, You Are The Most High God".
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