Benin City, Edo, Nigeria 2008 – Blues in Benin City – by Apostle André Pelser

Harvester Blues Band backed me in the great all night concert in Nigeria two weeks ago! What an experience! I always wanted to do blues music in church, but the church world wasn’t ready for it back then. In worldly circles my blues were too preachy for their liking so I never really fitted in anywhere!

 

But finally the dream came true – in Nigeria!

 

Pastor Godwins arranges an all night worship conference every year in November and all the world should be invited to it. It is a blast and a blessing all packaged in one! It is held in the athletic indoor stadium in Benin City. People come from four different countries to participate and attend. The best music equipment is hired from Lagos and the musicians practice all year for the event.

 

The choirs and solo artists all blend into the flow of the evening and the people are so responsive: they sing along and praise the Lord, but also enjoy the music because many of them are trained musicians.

 

The sheer artistry of pianists like Dr. Chidi and Romeo is absolutely stunning to hear and then

Benin has their own Scott Joplin that entertains the crowd every year with lively syncopation.

 

The entrance fee is purchasing the DVD of last year’s concert. About 7000 people filled the auditorium and hundreds were standing outside. When it was time for us to perform we went on stage that was especially built for the occasion and settled at the instruments: Aje behind the drums, Greg with his own harmonica mike, Dale plugged in his guitar and JP tuned his bass. Leigh was ready to do backup vocals and dance! I moved in behind the electric keyboard.

 

We started with a slow, solo number: Man Alone. Every time I got to the part: you were a man alone, but now…you can count on me! The audience sang along.

 

The next number was Preacher Man Blues. It is a fast blues song and young people everywhere got up and danced as we sang. They repeated the phrase, ‘Preacher man blues’ with me every time! Then we did, ‘Memory of me’ that starts with the words, ‘If I go away…’Pastor Godwins said the song made him cry because the song made him think about what he would leave behind and how he would be remembered one day. The last song we did was ‘How can I say thank you’ that starts off slowly but picks up the beat as we go along. It could not be recorded with a click track…too much soul.

 

We sweated so much in the 26 Celcius night that Greg, our blues harp player became known as our very own ‘water feature’ on stage!

 

Oh, how we laughed and had fun together on the 6 day adventure! But we also had many deep and serious times, sharing life experiences and explaining our understanding of the way the Lord works with each of us. Sometimes we sat around the lunch table for several hours and sometimes we shed tears…

 

On Sunday after the concert four of us preached in different churches. I preached about ‘The Man Born Blind’ in the Believers Church where Pastor Samuel Osaghae and his wife Gladys are the overseers. I got down into the sand where the people were sitting on wooden benches and smeared the red mud that I made with spit, water and dust on my face to demonstrate the mud balls Jesus made for the blind man. When he sent him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam he became ‘a sent one’ and was no longer a beggar! The people praised the Lord when the blind man got his sight!

 

How else could I describe a tour with the Harvester Blues Band? So much happened in five days that it would take volumes to try to tell it all…Jesus did so much that all the libraries of the world could not contain all the things he had done!
Apostle Andre Pelser