Emmanuel e e e e Emmanuel e! God with us, what a melody!
You have probably lived in an environment and you not only meet a particular person on the corridor, street or task team every now and then whose look scares, disgusts or distresses you or vice versa; but you also meet another whose jokes or musical outbursts just delight. The later for me was JK, a Nigerian priest. He kept singing my name with some pleasant melodies that I have never heard. He had worked in DR congo and picked up this Christmas song in kikongo/lingala. He was not very sure of the words and meaning but the thrilling melody was so enchanting – Emmanuel e e e e e e e Emmanuel e! – the Gift of God’s son has reached us, let’s sing. Thus he murmured the words until I began to join in and learned them albeit imperfectly.
And as I went behind the microphone to record my compositions, I expanded the memodies into Nzambe azali na biso (God is with us), Immanuel, Dieu avec nous, Nkosinathi, Modimo le rona... My accomplished Congolese singer and guitarist, Miguel, came in just in time to spice it all the more.
I love kikongo and lingala. I love music and dancing. We all love Happy Christmas and Christ alike. Let’s mimic, murmur, sing and dance with the angels and the Congolese, the Nigerians and the African beats because God is truly with us, as the baby of Bethlehem, the wondering preacher of Nazareth, the sacramental saviour in the Church and the sin bearer on the cross. Nzambe azali na biso, Immanuel, God with us.
Emmanuel Mbeh, December 2017