United Kingdom- Most of Liberian traditional Gospel Music are now being sung by white people in Glasgow, the United Kingdom.
This is all credited to the efforts of Dr. Jerry Topo Boweh, a Liberian Rivercess Bassa man who is basing in Glasgow, the United Kingdom.
He manages and organizes what he calls” Glasgow Gospel Choir”, a choir that sings in different vernaculars of Liberia; including Bassa, Kru and other dialects of Liberia.
At first, the Liberia delegation didn’t believe that those white people could sing in the different tongues of Liberia when an invitation was extended them to hear the Glasgow Gospel choir singing Liberian traditional Gospel songs.
But when the choir took the stage with a melody in the Bassa dialects, the Liberian delegation were all astonished.
A song was raised by Dr. Boweh in the Bassa dialect, and those Scottish responded to the song as though they were from Grand Bassa County or have lived in Liberia for ages. But to the surprise of all, none of them have been in Bassa before, expect Dr. Boweh.
It got more interesting when they diversified and moved to the Kru tribe. As they sang, they moved their bodies, performing like when Liberian choir take the stage to sing and the energy they apply.
The Liberian delegation could not stand the joy of hearing their country traditional Gospel songs being sung in distant or strange land, most importantly by white people.
The joy was so overwhelming and immediately those joyous Liberians woke up from their seats and joined the choir and made themselves feel at home by dancing and singing along with the Glasgow Gospel choir.
They sang songs like, “Jesus À Po zuō” meaning, Jesus we say thanks and other meaningful songs.
In an exclusive interview with the New Republic Newspaper, Dr. Boweh said after six years spent in the UK, he decided to communicate back home with his parents.
“I was very disappointed. I could not communicate with my passion with my mother,” he said during the interview in his sitting room.
According to him, he could not communicate his emotions with his people back home in Liberia mainly his mother who knows no other language then the Bassa vernacular.
He said when he dropped the line with his mother, the next though that came to him was to find other means to reconnect with his local tongue and what came to him was the establishment of a choir- a means that got him back on track with his mother and other relatives in Liberia.
The “Glasberian” indicated that when he started teaching the choir how to sing in Bassa, he recollected and begin to get along with speaking his native longue smoothly and by that, he was able to freely talk with his mother and other relatives.
He said, “I am fluent now” and those he has passed on the language to through song, have shown a lot of appreciation for such an education.
He said those Scottish were influenced by joy for speaking another language,” and so they are happy about that and they really love it.”
Dr. Boweh decided to organize his choir and through that singing group, he was able to raise fund for African Youth Development project and I Life Africa- the two organizations he has established in the UK.
“The choir has helped me in raising fund for the organization” he said.
Giving a history why he is called Glasberian, Dr. Boweh said because he has lived in Glasgow for many years and for the fact that he is a Liberian, his friends combined Glasgow and Liberian and named him Glasberian.
He has lived here for a period of about 29 years since he fled from the civil war in Liberia in the 90s.
He is from Rivercess and of the Bassa ethnic group. He speaks Kru, but not fluently as well as he does with the Bassa.
Dr. Boweh has not forgotten his root as a son of mama Liberia. In fact, for the longest he has lived here, he has refused to denounce his nationality. “I still have my Liberian passport” he said.
He said there is no place like home and he will always love being a Liberian.
He is one person who is also happy about dual citizenship, one of the proposals that was defected at the ballot box during the December referendum.
Dr. Boweh has degree in Youth and Communities studies, a Master’s degree in Peace Building and conflict resolution, and another Master’s degree in rehabilitation health.
Dr. Boweh also has a degree in Medical physics, and collectively bagged a PhD in African Culture.
The Liberian who has attained a level of education has said that he is also willing to serve his country as he holds on his nationality in that strange land.