Father Nsaikila Wanyu Elvis Njong is not your typical Roman Catholic priest. Although his duties involve prayers, homilies, and church business, he is a cut above the rest. Father Nsaikila, also known as Nsay Ki La, is a singer and music producer who has created many liturgical songs used in Cameroon and beyond. He is proving that gospel music can be fun, and he is doing so in a way that transcends the primary layer of Catholic liturgy.
Despite the comforts afforded by the priesthood, Nsay Ki La approaches his music like a starving artist that needs a hit record to put food on the table. You find him promoting his music relentlessly on social media, every chance he gets. His moves are that of a born entrepreneur.
His latest release is a 6 track EP project titled ‘Overflowing’ which was released on January 22 this year. The EP is a collection of devotional songs of praise, worship, and thanksgiving. A large part of the lyrics is directly drawn from the Holy Bible. It explores varied genres such as folk, afrobeats, makossa, and cinematic music.
Nsay Ki La’s musical journey began early in his life when he was exposed to gospel music as a child in St. Stephen’s Mission Station in the then St. Theresa’s Cathedral Parish, Kumbo. As he grew up, he was inspired by the works of Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, the La Voix du Cenacle choir of the revered Jervais Mendoze, Nso song genius Richard Kings, and Greek composer and producer Yanni. In 2011, he officially kicked off his music journey with the album “Now We Believe.”
Nsay Ki La’s music reflects the influence of his idols, from production to melody and depth of message. Fused with his choral experience and exposure to modern music production circles, he has become a rare breed of artist. In an era where many tend to limit worship to liturgical songs, Nsay Ki La stands tall as that priest who makes gospel music much fun.
Nsay Ki La’s roots run deep into the Nso land where he was born and bred. He was ordained in 2014 in the same community (Diocese of Kumbo) where he is now serving. Proud of his homeland, he regularly performs in his mother tongue (Lamnso) and often incorporates different aspects of Nso traditional music into the production of his pieces.
Like most of the North West region, Nsay Ki La’s native Kumbo is affected by an armed conflict. With thousands dead and many more displaced, the violence remains far from over. He lent his voice to the struggle still in song with the release (on July 1, 2020) of “CITIES ON FIRE– Beats from a struggle” – a 13-track project inspired by and focused on the conflict. The project had him featured on BBC’s Focus On Africa.
In November 2021 he leased another piece titled “Kileeme” still on the of the crisis. Singing in Lamnso, he calls for caution and restraint and urges focus on God as the guarantor of safety. The song runs on a highly energetic and danceable Amapiano beat, probably a reminder that even in the darkest of times, a smile can keep the heart going.
Nsay Ki La’s music is guaranteed to feed your soul, and he has been building on the greats that have influenced him, such as Richard Kinga aka Richard Kings. His sound is largely a positive consequence of the deep musical heritage transmitted from age to age, but with a twist – it finds itself in holy hands, used as a tool to point the masses to the cross, to the good life. His goal is to continue exploring more music genres to give a flair to public worship.