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Sample Sunday: Michelle Williams ft. Beyoncé & Kelly Rowland - Say Yes ·

Bottomline Kenya

Entertainment One; 2014

Among the big news this week is that world-famous super-group of the early noughties, Destiny’s Child finally had a reunion of sorts after close to ten years of separate side projects and dropped a big one on us. This comes in the form of a collabo on a single entitled Say Yes by Michelle Williams off her upcoming gospel album Journey To Freedom

Beyoncé & Kelly Rowland join Michelle to belt out this very very familiar worship tune and chorus that has been part of praise and worship sessions in churches across Africa (and Nigeria in particular) for years now, albeit with some extra flavour that just tinges with afrobeat and R&B goodness. Nonetheless, the song’s African roots remain unmistakable: the call-response format of most traditional African songs, the pidgin grammar etc. 

Sample-wise, it is difficult to know where to even begin tracing the original composition of the song. What is certain though is that the song’s earliest roots can be traced to Nigerian gospel circles and has literally had a tonne of reincarnations since Lord knows when.  Here are just a few of them:

Mount Zion Singers 

Jennifer Mirembe

Sam Soft

Soweto Gospel Choir