Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Say (and sing) Yes

Yesterday I wrote about Nigerian legend, Fela Kuti. Today, I'll share a contemporary Nigerian-American artist named Iyeoka. Besides sharing a nationality though, her music is quite different than Kuti's afrobeat. About the closest comparison I can conjure up would be Ursula Rucker (who coincidentally released her latest album She Said just yesterday), although even that would be an uneven stretch. Iyeoka's album Say Yes is an interesting mixture of electronic soul/dance music, spoken word, and jazz, one that constantly shifts its approach from beginning to end.

Besides being a musician, Iyeoka also is a poet, which is where the spoken word elements of her album come into play (the powerful I Travel Home does an intense working of comparing her two worlds) and the previous comparison to Rucker. Visiting her website will reveal a whole body of poetic works, including the following poem:

Possibly I will
soon never
need to go too long without you, my love.
Perhaps we will move on this understanding
that this

We will
reminisce when age finds us seasoned,
in legend with love.
Loving the water,
we will baptise
and sing of the days
Of our youth when we
were beautiful…
and…back where I began
to fall full in love
with you-Heart wide open

Home soon became
anywhere we came
together. And maybe tomorrow,
you will wake demanding
me to your side
as your wife
as your friend
as a woman who
will carry your

Maybe we will stumble
over the lines
before we find ourselves
We will soon know
what all of this

This burgeoning optimism is also apparent in much of the material on her album, with The Yellow Brick Road Song, the opening track, being a perfect example. And although the realities of the world don't escape her (such as when she sings "Break down, break down down / The walls of happily ever after" in the similarly titled track), the album's title reminds us of Iyeoka's message, just as the closing lines of the last track My Current Anthem reiterate, "Remember the road is on time with your arrival / And your next moment to shine flies on the horizon."

Visit her website, her label Underground Sun, and become her friend on MySpace and Facebook.

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