WHO IS NSAY KI LA?

Nsaikila Wanyu Elvis Njong is a prolific songwriter and singer from Cameroon. He is known more for the numerous liturgical songs and “Commons of the Mass” which he has written. These songs and “Masses” are being sung by choirs and groups in Catholic (and other) Churches within and outside Cameroon.

Born in 1985, he was ordained to the Catholic Priesthood in April of 2014 as a priest of the Diocese of Kumbo, Cameroon. His first studio project was “Now We Beleivee” in 2011, with the stage name “Nsay ki la”.

He has since then produced so much more music, or sometimes only creating samples for Music Directors who would want to study his songs with choirs.

MUSICAL GROWTH

Nsay ki la was exposed to a musical environment from early childhood. As a little child in St. Stephen’s Mission Station, Mbuiy, in the then St. Theresa’s Cathedral Parish, Kumbo, he was already mingling in the choir. There he learned to play musical instruments like drums, xylophones, hollow, gongs, shakers, and others. In fact, he was one among many kids who were too small to reach the drums, so much so that an older man had to carry them on his
laps before they could manage to play the drums.

His first attempt to write a song was when he was in form 3 in secondary school. Although it
never really developed into something serious (and this possibility is not ruled out just yet), it was the beginning of a great journey.

Nsay ki la became more prolific and consistent after entry into the Major Seminary. That is when his name began to feature in choir circles, especially with the songs “Be not Afraid” and “We Praise and Thank You”. These were some of the earliest from his pen.

Further Growth

In the years 2006 to 2010 he would go on to consistently write more songs weekly. And although he has published the scripts of some of these compositions, he has hinted that many are still in his manuscripts. Since then, even while being much busier with other things, he has never stopped being busy with writing music.

From high school when he was Choir Prefect till Major seminary where he was in the Singing Department every year except one, he gained experience in dealing with choirs. It pushed him to also undergo more music formation at a personal level.

He made tremendous contributions to the revision work of the Aquinas Hymnal in St Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary. The preface to the revised edition indicates that the work was greatly advanced under him as head of the Singing Department. And since completing major seminary, he has always had one thing or another to do with choirs. He has, therefore, gathered so much experience for a good number of years.

THE NSAY KI LA SOUND !

Nsay ki la cannot be affiliated with any particular genre of music. Having been writing numerous songs for public worship, he believes that various types of genres need to be explored in order to capture the sentiments and emotions that are expressed at different points and types of public worship.

This was the content of a tweet (Click Me!) in September of 2022. This mindset has in turn had an impact on the non-liturgical songs from him, whether written or recorded. He has made much use of Njang, as well as Toh, Makossa, Bikutsi, (all music genres in Cameroon), likewise soul, and fusions of these with other genres.

He basically has the ability to use any genre of music, as long it serves the desired purpose for which he seeks to deploy it.

Musical Style:

Not being tied to a particular genre makes room for being versatile in style. Nevertheless, for the songs which he himself has produced, something stands out about Nsay ki la. This is the natural-ness of the songs.
It gives a feeling of a local choir vibe. You’d feel you’re inside a church, following a real-life performance, with real drums or xylophones and other instruments. Somehow, this makes him stand out.

Musical Instruments:

He is a good vocalist, with a wide typical tenor range. Of course, the human voice is the best musical instrument in the world. Well, away from that, he plays traditional instruments well: drums/congas, xylophones, gongs, shakers, pipes, hollow, etc.

In addition, he generally has a fair idea of nearly all instruments he comes across, or understands how they function. He can accompany songs with basics of the guitar or piano keyboard. Having basic knowledge of many instruments gives him leverage when writings songs for various purposes to be performed in accompaniment by those instruments.

MUISC EXTRAS

Stage Name:

His stage name is Nsay ki la. It is actually from his name Nsaikila. This name is actually a question/exclamation in Lamnso’, and means “Whom does the world/earth/ground know(?)”.

For his art, however, he chose not to write it as “Nsaikila” but as “Nsay ki la”. It is an identity and a commitment. Writing the name that one is an unrepeatable individuality. It also makes clear what he intended to do: make important contributions to culture and liturgical in Lamnso’. He has already much of this, and is nowhere near stopping: the Lamnso’ lyrics, the local genres, the cultural concepts.

Musical Influences:

The early musical influence of Nsay ki la was his surrounding, and mingling with the choir from early childhood would have planted something of choral music in him. This would later be watered to grow at the minor seminary.

He eventually exposed himself to a remarkably wide taste of music from across the world. The Voix du Cenacle  had an impact on him, as well as some reggae legends especially Bob Marley and Lucky Dube when it comes to depth of lyrics. He was always a lover of the work of Richard Kings, a Nso’ music hero, and was likewise impacted in one way or another by Bondo (Fr Bonaventure Ndong). His love for the works of Yanni  has made him write some songs for orchestra and jazz in style, which are yet to be performed.

Overall, Nsay ki la has been open to the universe when it comes to music. Synthesizing from all that he has harnessed from listening to and being touched by so much music from around the world has been cemented by his priestly formation and frequent meditation on the Psalms and Canticles in the Sacred Scriptures, and the rich musical traditions of the Bible and the Catholic Church.

Setbacks:

One important thing to note is that Nsay ki la has always given priority to his vocation and work over music. Somehow, it can be noted that outside of composing songs, he did not pay much attention to quality or promotion for many years. This is understandable, but is not insignificant. His earlier studio recordings from 2011 onwards had different priorities from creating good music: either marking a particular event, or helping Music Directors.

Furthermore, earlier recordings that he did as audio samples of his compositions were purely bad PR, to put it bluntly! These audios were recorded directly into the computer, no noise filter, no mixing, no digital mastering, nothing! Some of them circulated within choir circles.

While they were very useful for choristers and music directors, it is what many people have used to evaluate his musical abilities. In this way, many people do not anticipate or check out some of his stuff because they are biased about the quality. However, the recent works from him and upcoming projects will prove them wrong.

The Virtual Chorale:

It is not hard to notice The Virtual Chorale indicated as being part of some of his work since 2021. It might sound funny, but it is true: The Virtual Chorale is literally virtual! It is not an official or legal constituted body anywhere.

It is a group of choristers, who love the music of Nsay ki la, and join him when they can, to prepare and record songs. Technically, they are musicians, and their contributions to his work are the vocals. Seeing how much progress has been made, it can be said that this group of people found in different parts of Cameroon will grow into something very big.

EDUCATION

Primary and Secondary:

After moving from Government Bilingual Primary School, Jakiri to Catholic School Kifem in class 3, Nsay ki la obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1997. He underwent secondary education at St. Aloysius’ Minor Seminary, Kitiwum. There he obtained the G.C.E. Ordinary Level Certificate in 2002, and G.C.E. Advanced Level Certificate in 2004 with exceptional results.

Tertiary:

Following a year of propaedeutic formation in St. John Mary Vianney Spiritual Formation Centre, Bafut, he enrolled in the Major Seminary in 2005. In completing 3 years of studies in philosophy in St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, Bambui, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in 2008 from the Pontificia Universitas Urbaniana in Rome, Italy.

The following academic year was spent gaining pastoral experience in St. Sylvester’s Catholic Comprehensive College, Sop (as tutor, boarding master, music club master, liturgy master), while voluntarily assisting in the St. Therese’s Parish, Sop.

After four years of studies in Sacred Theology in the same Major Seminary, he obtained a Bachelor’s in Divinity degree from the same pontifical university in Rome.

Contributions:

The following are his academic dissertations:

1). Nsaikila W. E. N., An Epistemological Defence of Theism, (Unpublished work 2008, Bachelor of Philosophy research)

2). Nsaikila W. E. N., Prayer as a Battle, (Unpublished work 2013, Bachelor of Divinity research)

Editorial Work Contribution:

3). Bishop George Nkuo, Be a Holy and Happy Priest, (Kumbo, 2021), Edited by Fr Gordian Baba and Fr Elvis Nsaikila

Articles: He has been contributing articles, reflections and opinion pieces now and then to the National Catholic monthly magazine CAMEROON PANORAMA for several years.

PASTORAL WORK EXPERIENCE

Media:

Since completing formation in the major seminary in 2013, Nsay ki la has served as Director of Communications for the Diocese of Kumbo, and Station Manager of Radio Evangelium Kumbo, until 2019. These capacities made him member of the Provincial Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs (of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda), and member of the National Catholic Communications Council, all of them ex officio.

School Chaplaincy:

In the meantime, he likewise worked as Chaplain of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception College, Bambui – Kumbo (2014 – 2017), and Chaplain of Saint Augustine’s College (SAC), Nso (2018 – 2019). This chaplaincy task entails celebrating the Sacraments, preparing or coordinating the preparation for the reception of sacraments, accompanying the members of the community in their spiritual journey, and ensuring in general the spiritual and liturgical welfare of the school.

Parish Ministry:

First as Deacon, then as Priest, Fr Nsaikila regularly assisted in St Theresa’s Cathedral Parish, Kumbo (2013 – 2017), and St Kizito’s Parish Melim (2017 – 2018), celebrating the Sacraments, visiting the sick and disabled, giving talks to groups, doing pastoral counselling. He has also served in a collection of Parishes in the Diocese of Teruel and Albarracin in Spain, namely, the Unidad Pastoral de Calamocha as Parochial Vicar, and the Unidad Pastoral de Cantavieja as Parish Priest.

Tutor/Instructor:

He has been an instructor at the Maryvale Institute Kumbo, which is an affiliate to the mother house, the Maryvale Higher Institute of Religious Sciences in Burmingham, U.K., helping students (Christians in general and Catechists in particular) to understand the elements of the Catholic Faith. In Saint Aloysius’ Minor Seminary, Kitiwum, he likewise served as tutor for Music Theory (2014 – 2015).

Choir Coordination:

After being Assisting Coordinator of the Kumbo Cathedral Choir (official ceremonial choir of the Diocese of Kumbo) from 2013 to 2016, he served as the coordinator of the same choir from 2016 – 2019. He was able to impact with the skills and experience he has had down the years.

SKILLS, INTERESTS, QUALITIES

Language and Technical Skills:

  • English (full professional proficiency), French (limited working proficiency), Lamnso’ (full native proficiency), Pidgin English (full professional proficiency), Spanish (professional working proficiency).
  • Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe PageMaker and Audition (audio editing), Samplitude Magix Studio, Fruity Loops Studio, Adobe Photoshop.
  • Pastoral Counselling and Guidance
  • Editorial Skills

Personal Qualities, Hobbies and Interests:

  • Organised, conscientious, good communication, presentation, interpersonal and leadership skills.
  • Ability to collaborate and work with a team to achieve tasks within given time frames
  • Reading to appreciate other views, and writing to share thoughts in mass/social media to bring positive change in society
  • Social interactions to learn and share thoughts
  • Song writing and singing as a tool of reaching out to humanity
  • Music Production
  • Reflective solitude as a means of harnessing inner energies and connecting with nature and God
  • Playing/watching team sports

RELEASED PROJECTS

2011

Now we Believe (album) https://nsaikila.net/Discography/now-we-believe/

2013

The Day of the Lord (feature) https://nsaikila.net/Discography/the-day-of-the-lord-2/

2014

Be not Afraid (album) https://nsaikila.net/Discography/be-not-afraid/

Ee Taata Nyuy (feature) https://nsaikila.net/Discography/ee-taata-nyuy/

VVL Rejoice https://nsaikila.net/Discography/vvl-rejoice/

2015

You’re in our Midst https://nsaikila.net/Discography/youre-in-our-midst/

O Bless the Lord my Soul (feature) https://nsaikila.net/Discography/o-bless-the-lord-my-soul/

2016

Ji Nyuy dze e vesen Mvem https://nsaikila.net/Discography/ji-nyuy/

2017

Not by Might https://nsaikila.net/Discography/not-by-might/

2018

Run-Away Friend https://nsaikila.net/Discography/run-away-friend-2/

Viwir ve Wirfon https://nsaikila.net/Discography/viwir-ve-won-fon/

Save my People https://nsaikila.net/Discography/save-my-people/

We shall meet Again https://nsaikila.net/Discography/we-shall-meet-again/

Suuy Jay Wom https://nsaikila.net/Discography/suuy-yah-wom/

2019

Mass of St Bernard (EP) https://nsaikila.net/Discography/mass-of-st-bernard/

The Man Verdzekov – a capella https://nsaikila.net/Discography/verdzekov-a-capella/

My Lady https://nsaikila.net/Discography/my-lady/

2020

Cities on Fire (Album) https://nsaikila.net/Discography/cities-on-fire/

The Man Verdzekov https://nsaikila.net/Discography/the-man-verdzekov/

We Offer with Joy https://nsaikila.net/Discography/we-offer-with-joy/

Christ–Light of the World (feature) https://nsaikila.net/Discography/christ-light-of-the-world/

Shitiy https://nsaikila.net/Discography/shitiy-kikum-dance/

Hail, Holy Queen https://nsaikila.net/Discography/holy-queen/

Won Nyuy – Won Fon https://nsaikila.net/Discography/won-nyuy-won-fon/

Holy Sacrifice https://nsaikila.net/Discography/holy-sacrifice/
Clap your Hands for Joy https://nsaikila.net/Discography/clap-your-hands/

In your Name https://nsaikila.net/Discography/in-your-name/

Blessed be the Lord https://nsaikila.net/Discography/blessed-be-the-lord/

Alleluia – Marriage Feast https://nsaikila.net/Discography/alleluia-marriage-feast-of-the-lamb/

Maranatha https://nsaikila.net/Discography/maranatha/

Abound in Hope https://nsaikila.net/Discography/abound-in-hope/

2021

A Day at a Time https://nsaikila.net/Discography/a-day-at-a-time-ft-vernsai-sany-2/

Ee Tar, Ver si Wiyi https://nsaikila.net/Discography/ee-tar-ver-si-wiyi/

Ngaa se wom https://nsaikila.net/Discography/3606/

Fresh Waters https://nsaikila.net/Discography/fresh-waters-2/

Lam Wor https://nsaikila.net/Discography/lam-wor/

This is the Day https://nsaikila.net/Discography/this-is-the-day/

Happy 40 https://nsaikila.net/Discography/happy-forty/

A Waa Buri https://nsaikila.net/Discography/a-waa-buri/

Shiliv shem shi wu’si https://nsaikila.net/Discography/shiliv-shem-shi-wusi/

Dze’em yee Nsay (feature) https://nsaikila.net/Discography/dzeem-yee-nsay/

Stand Together https://nsaikila.net/Discography/stand-together/

Maria wa bain https://nsaikila.net/Discography/maria-wa-bain-ta-njong/

I will Praise https://nsaikila.net/Discography/i-will-praise/

Hurray Alleluia https://nsaikila.net/Discography/hurray-aleluia/

Order of Melchizedek https://nsaikila.net/Discography/order-of-melchizedeck/

2022

Mass of Grace (EP) https://nsaikila.net/Discography/mass-of-grace/

This Gift we Bring https://nsaikila.net/Discography/this-gift-we-bring/

With Joy https://nsaikila.net/Discography/with-joy/

The Reproaches https://nsaikila.net/Discography/the-reproaches-2/

Listen to Nsay ki la muisc:

Spotify     Apple Music      Deezer     YouTube Music 

We’ve got more beautiful music coming your way!

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(On the song “LAY LA”)

If others previously occupied the rostrum of arts or currently occupy it, with or without content or a message, perhaps, in all honesty, this could be a reference.

The older may come to it as the Magi did from the East, contemporaries may come to it as Andrew and Nathaniel and the Greeks did in Galilee and Jerusalem, and the younger may come to it, as the Rich young man did. What is good is good!

(On the song “JUBILEE PRAYER”)

Do you feel the grace that sound carries? It emanates from the dense equatorial forest and pierces through the very depths of the heart. That is the beauty of our local instruments when well played.

One thing about Nsay ki la’s music is that it always feeds your soul.

(On the song “LAM WOR”)

Can someone help me to stop listening already!

(On the song “HOLY SACRIFICE”)

I profoundly loved every minute of this great piece.
The theology is top notch, it’s use is liturgically versatile, very prayerful, the beatings, the drumming… these brought back good memories working with you in the Singing Department. Thank you and keep up the good work! You are the real Master!

(On the song “I WILL PRAISE”)

This is so calming and peaceful. Perfect meditation song. Thank you for this.

He genius at his work. And what a fine art! A unique brand. It only gets better, sweeter and more touching as you listen over and over again.

Keep up boss. As rare talent and a special taste of music you give. Waiting for more as the days go by

Very often life deals a hand replete with challenges, sorrow, fear, and loss. Tragedy seems to be the only reality. Then in the perfect synchrony of inspiration and pristine timing, in a synergy with outstanding talent that keeps doing its homework, we have the artistry of Nsay ki la.

The lyrics are profound albeit simple. The melody makes the temptation to keep dancing, overwhelming. The harmony is off the charts. Every piece is compellingly spellbinding: either moving to the beats or lost in wondrous contemplation of the truths so masterfully dressed.

I simply can’t stop listening and waiting in joyful anticipation of this gift that keeps giving. What about you?