If you’re a frequent visitor of jazz-not-jazz, you may recall my rave review for Jangbalajugbu by ‘Segun Akinlolu aka Beautiful Nubia and the interview on this website.
Released independently, Jangbalajugbu was very successful, selling over 250,000 copies in Nigeria. And regarding Beautiful Nubia’s political conscious lyrics this makes his success even better than just judging the sheer number of copies sold. Since this proves that there is obvious are market for music that not only moves your body but offers you food for thought as well.
It’s good, that Beautiful Nubia still continues his mission of addressing drawbacks in everyday life and in the political life with his new album Awilele. The musical world really needs a conscious voice like his.
Like his previous albums Awilele was recorded full analogue giving it a rough, pristine feeling.
In these trying times the song Awilele has a real global approach. Beautiful Nubia says “This is a call to people to awake from their lethargy and speak out against bad leadership and the ills in their society.” With neocons in power in most western society and politicians, who are more interested to fill their own pockets and fulfill lobbyist’s desires instead of their voters’ wishes, bad leadership isn’t happening in Africa only.
Matters Arising is, again, a song with a universal meaning, warning us against “greed, selfishness and religious extremism/…/ And you, now you are in a position of power, you’ve forgotten your history and responsibility/ living the wasteful life of the affluent while children of the poor root in garbage for their daily bread/ True friendship and love is hard to find here, there is so much bigotry, so much hatred, how can there be progress in the midst of all this?”
So is there any hope in Beutiful Nubia’s music that things get better you may ask? There is, most songs have a more uptempo vibe giving the afore-mentioned Awilele for example a positive musical background. And then there are songs in which ‘Segun tells us how important a well-working community can be, a community, that respects the elderly (Awon Agba), to whom you can turn when you need insight and advise. A community, where you’re not afraid to ask your mother when you’re in trouble (Ominira). Preserving and evolving such a community wouldn’t work if you don’t teach your children their roots (E Ko’mo L’ede “Please teach the children our language/ Please teach the children our culture/ Please tell them our stories/ Please clothe them in our native dress“). Listening to Oke Bola, an homage to Beautiful Nubia’s past, it sounds like he had had this great and peaceful community then.
There’s much more food for thought here like O Ya O!, which again is a call to people not to let politicians run one’s life but to take a stand for their desires, or Come Warrior, that plays on a Yoruban metaphor that life is war. And there’s also happy-go-lucky dance song (S’o wa Pa?).
Beautiful Nubia has also released three volumes of poetry, a novel, writes and arranges his songs, speaks English and Yoruba, and plays acoustic guitar and percussions, which makes him a modern Renaissance man in some ways.
Awilele is another fine example of Beautiful Nubia’s creative powers and of modern African music with a meaning.
Tracklisting of Awilele: 1. Intro - Iba F’Olojo/ 2. Awilele/ 3. S’o Wa Pa?/ 4. Ominira/ 5. E K’omo L’ede/ 6. Ma Fo’ya/ 7. Come, Warrior/ 8. Awon Agba/ 9. Matters Arising/ 10. Oke Bola/ 11. Each Time You Turn/ 12. Oruko Rere/ 13. Lekeleke/ 14. O Ya O! | released 2004 on EniObanke Music
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