Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Archive for April, 2017

What is Around the World in 80 Minutes?

… the exciting title of this new show by Jeannine and David Jordan keeps its promise: as spectator and listener I was taken on a trip around the world that provided glimpses of the beautiful rolling hills of England and its Roman churches, majestic cathedrals in Paris, allowed me to feel part of a procession during Passion Week in Spain, invited me into Johann S. Bach’s Germany, took me into the somber atmosphere of a Polish orphanage during World War II .. and this was only the first part of the ‘trip’ that went on to Nigeria, Lebanon, Israel, Taiwan, Australia… the list goes on! The blend of carefully selected and masterfully played pieces of music and visuals that reflected the music and the characteristics of the countries – or that were simply entertaining and humorous – made the journey enjoyable, fun and unforgettable. This show will undoubtedly be a favorite for many! The organ shines in its seemingly infinite musical expression and potential – who associates ‘La Bamba’ with the organ? From now on – I will! When the journey is over you sit back and think: “I would like to do this again!”   Ulla Mundil, concert attendee


Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist, and David Jordan, media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multi-media concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, Bach and Sons, and From Sea to Shining Sea.  Contact Dr. Jordan at jeannine@promotionmusic.org for information.

Godwin Sadoh and intercultural music – Interview continued

Jeannine:  Intercultural music is described as that in which elements from two or more cultures are integrated.  Please describe your compositional technique and how it exhibits intercultural tendencies?

Dr. Sadoh:  My compositions exemplify the process of intercultural music as three distinct cultures are vividly and copiously utilized in them; these cultures are Nigerian/African, European, and American.  Jazz idiom in some of my early piano works is the major American influence on my music.  As regards Nigeria, it could be further broken down to the influence of the Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa cultural traits.  In terms of Africa as a continent, I have incorporated elements from South Africa and Ghana into my piano works especially the ten-movement Childhood Dreams.  The Nigerian musical elements are quite glaring in my music because I always want my music to be conceptualized in that way, music written by a modern Nigerian composer.  I deliberately make painstaking efforts to infuse a lot of Nigerian musical flavors into my music.  Hence, I employ Nigerian traditional, popular, and church music resources in my compositions.  Some of these elements are the rhythmic patterns, tonal organizations, parallel harmony, formal structures, timbres, folk melodies, instrumental resources, indigenous languages as exemplified in my Five Nigerian Songs for Vocal Solo and piano, Three Wedding Songs for Soprano and piano, and most of my choral songs that are in Yoruba.

Quite a number of my organ works are based on indigenous church tunes, traditional, and folksongs.  In terms of tonality, I combine European pitch collections with indigenous Nigerian tonal schemes such as diatonic, pentatonic, hexatonic, and octatonic scales, atonality, as well as the 12-tone row method.   For illustration, Memoirs of Childhood for piano is a three-movement work based mainly on pentatonic scale.  My Nigerian Organ Symphony is largely influenced by 19th century French organ symphonic techniques, in particular, Louis Vierne and Charles Marie-Widor.  Even though the character, style, and registrations of the five movement work are influenced by French music, the Nigerian Organ Symphony is infused with distinct African music creative and performance procedures such as scales, ostinati, call-and-response, interlocking rhythmic patterns, dance nuances, folk melodies, bell patterns, foot stamping, and hand clapping rhythms.  Structurally, the forms of my music ranges from simple binary, ternary, rondo, theme and variations, sonata form, aria, strophic, through-composed, canonic imitation, contrapuntal forms to other free styles.  In the area of instrumental resources, I do conjoin Western and Nigerian traditional instruments, such as the  Fisherman Song for Flute and Organ, African Nostalgia for Xylophone, Harmattan Overture for Symphony Orchestra and Nigerian Instruments, and Folk Dance for a Percussion Ensemble of Four Players. 

One of my most successful intercultural compositions is The Misfortune of a Wise Tortoise for Organ and Narrator (An African Folktale).  It is a work created to introduce kids to the nature and workings of the pipe organ.  This composition could be regarded as a “Nigerian program music,” in which the organ replicates the narrated folk story in sonic space.  There are 8 short pieces that are actually variations of the original song that goes with the folktale.  Each organ piece is given divers registrations to introduce the children to the various sounds that the pipe organ is capable of producing.  I am always excited to hear comments from organists around the world telling me how much they enjoy playing my music and that my compositions are practically different in style from all the other organ repertoire they have ever played.  That is so cool to hear.  They could feel the Africanesques in my music.  Here are some comments from selected organists and pianist:

  1. i) In a letter on March 17, 2008, American organist, John Abuya, writes: “Dear Dr. Sadoh, . . . Your music is interesting and delightfully refreshing. I have nothing like it in my repertoire.  I am entranced by the authentic African melodies and rhythms.  You can be assured that I will use them in my service playing at church and my organ recitals.  God has truly blessed you with a great gift. . .”
  2. ii) In The Organ, a British journal, August 2008, No. 345, A review of the Nigerian Organ Symphony, Roger Rayner, writes: “Sadoh makes an important contribution to our repertoire in introducing African rhythms and a style of playing possibly unfamiliar to most of us.”

iii)  From Michael Vollmer, German organist, Bielefeld, Westphalia: “Godwin, let me tell you briefly about last Sunday.  We had a feast with our congregation, we had fellowship the whole day. My best friend and I lead the Gospel Choir and we sang some songs.  I had your Nigerian Suite No. 2 with me and we were so full of Gospel music that (when everyone was having lunch outside) I pulled out your Suite and started playing.  Of course, I held back “K’a Juba,” this is for tomorrow. 🙂 But I played the last movement, the “Royal Dance.”  My friend grabbed a pair of Bongos and joined me.  It was so much fun, so vivid, so full of life.  We played the entire suite *three times* and hearing us from the outside, people would pop in and listen.  When we finished, the church was a quarter full and your music earned much applause! 🙂 Thank you for this music, it is new to me and although I may not always understand the background, I feel the life and the spirit behind every written bar!” [April 14, 2011].

  1. iv) Stephen Jenkins of the American Guild of Organists, Holland, Michigan Chapter, writes: “I find Godwin Sadoh’s work fun to play and refreshing. I love the way he uses Nigerian riffs on the pipe organ.  Dude rocks.”  He made this remark after listening to the recording of “Konkonkolo” from Five African Dances for organ solo. [February 24, 2015].
  2. v) E-mail message on February 10, 2016, Italian international concert pianist, Silvia Belfiore, comments on my compositional style: “Your music plays an important role in my repertory. The interest that it arouses is extraordinary.  Your music is characterized by metric mixtures, syncopation, rhythmic counterpoints, and above all, clarity and transparency.  Through your music, I discovered that the process of composing music and creating hierarchies within the voices of a piece are the dichotomy between traditional practicum and modern expressionism.  I can also attest that the public reactions were amazing everywhere I played your music, in any country, and for any type of audience.”


  1. vi) Facebook comment on February 20, 2016, American musician, Daniel Walton, writes, “This is super cool. I’ve never heard these definitely African sounds out of an organ, and it’s such a joyous noise.” Reacting to Mark Pace’s performance of “Ijo Oba” (Royal Dance) from Nigerian Suite No. 2 for organ.

vii)  Chase Castle: “Looking forward to playing selections from Godwin Sadoh‘s Impressions from an African Moonlight.  Sadoh is a Nigerian organist, composer, and ethnomusicologist, who offers trans-cultural and exciting modern organ repertoire.” [October 8, 2016].

viii)  Monty Bennett: “Godwin, they loved your pieces! You should have heard the applause after the toccata!!!! The best part was that because the console is turned so the organist looks at the auditorium, there was a camera placed on me and was shown on a big screen at the front of the hall. They could see my feet playing the toccata and the fast pedal work.”  This is a report of the audience response to the Middle-Eastern Premiere of Nigerian Suite No. 1 for solo organ, at the prestigious Israel International Organ Festival 2016-2017, under the auspices of the Israel Organ Association, at the Hecht Museum Auditorium, Haifa University, Israel, on February 24, 2017.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist, and David Jordan, media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multi-media concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, Bach and Sons, and From Sea to Shining Sea.  Contact Dr. Jordan at jeannine@promotionmusic.org for information.


Godwin Sadoh – ethnomusicologist – Interview continued

Dr. Sadoh:  My extensive researches on African ethnomusicology, intercultural musicology, modern African art music, Nigerian church music, organ building, and composers, have been published in reputable international journals such as The Diapason, The Hymn, The Organ, The Organ Club Journal, Journal of the Royal College of Organists, The Organ: An Encyclopedia, The Musical Times, Africa, Choral Journal, Percussive Notes, MLA Notes, NTAMA, Living Music Journal, and Composer-USA.  In fact, one of my books, Intercultural Dimensions in Ayo Bankole’s Music, topped the bestseller list as No. 1 on Amazon in 2007.  My books have been catalogued in some of the most prestigious archival centers and university libraries around the world, including the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Libraries, Harvard University Library, Yale University Library, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College Music Library–New Hampshire, UCLA Music Library, Duke University Library–North Carolina, Stanford University Library–California, Southern Methodist Libraries, Dallas–Texas, Center for Black Music Research–Chicago, Bayreuth University Library–Germany, Tufts University Library–Massachusetts, University of London, School of Oriental Studies and African Studies–London, Cathedral Church of Christ Library–Lagos, and the Music Libraries of the University of Pretoria, University of South Africa, University of Kwazulu-Natal, University of the Witwatersrand–Johannesburg, all nestled in South Africa.  This is just to mention a few.

I am always excited and grateful to see my published articles and books listed as references in theses and dissertations, and in the syllabi of both undergraduate and graduate courses at colleges and universities around the world.  As regards my compositions, they have been performed all over the world including Birmingham, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Scotland, Tanzania, South Africa, and of course, the United States, where my music is performed regularly in churches and schools every week.  Since my return to Nigeria in 2013 after several years of sojourn in the United States, I have come across a lot of Masters and PhD students and Music Instructors who informed me of how useful my scholarly publications have being to them when writing their theses or dissertations.  My compositions too have been widely performed at churches, schools, colleges and universities all over Nigeria.  The climax of my creative reward in Nigeria were the mammoth concerts featuring only my compositions that took place in the nation’s capital, Abuja, on April 29, 2016, and on August 6, 2016, at the prestigious Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos.  The third phase of the concert would feature only my organ compositions at the Cathedral Church later in 2017; while the Grand Finale would take place in my late mother’s home town in summer 2017.  At this Finale, a 100-Mass Choir would perform my choral songs to the glory of God.  To me, these are priceless and quantum experiences in my musical career!

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist, and David Jordan, media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multi-media concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, Bach and Sons, and From Sea to Shining Sea.  Contact Dr. Jordan at jeannine@promotionmusic.org for information.

World Premiere of Around the World in 80 Minutes

April is a thrilling month for us!  We will be presenting the World Premiere of our newest organ and multi-media concert experience, Around the World in 80 Minutes, on April 26 in Wooster, Ohio.  A quick story — following our performance of From Sea to Shining Sea in Wooster eighteen months ago, Nancy Franck, the Director of the Music on Market concert series, asked what our third organ and multi-media concert would be.  She then said, “When it is complete, Music on Market will host the World Premiere.”  You see, Music on Market had also hosted our Bach and Sons concert and their audience wanted another Jeannine and David Jordan concert experience.

atw-logoWell…the rest is history.  With a World Premiere venue in hand, we got to work — searching out repertoire, writing a story, finding images, and creating what has become Around the World in 80 Minutes.  If you are in the Wooster area on April 26th, please join us at 7:00 p.m. for the celebration.  Wooster United Methodist Church, 243 North Market, Wooster, Ohio.  See you there!

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist, and David Jordan, media artist, are the creators and performers of three organ and multi-media concert experiences, Around the World in 80 Minutes, Bach and Sons, and From Sea to Shining Sea.  Contact Dr. Jordan at jeannine@promotionmusic.org for information.

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