6 Nigerian Soul Songs to Enjoy this Month of Love

It’d definitely be rude not to wish you guys Merry Christmas (2016), Happy New Year, before I start to talk about Valentine. Even for Valentine I’m already so late! Yes, Naija and Alternative Music took a (not-so) little break. Blogging and having a 9 to 5 does take its toll I must say. Plus 2016 was one hell of a year! In any case, we do hope things get better in 2017.
So it’s Valentine’s – the love season, and there is a recession! The luxuries of last year no longer abound as such and the gifts may just be a tiny bit lighter. But music will always carry the same weight regardless of economic situation (it’s probably even heavier this time around). I definitely think music is and will always be part and parcel of love.
So even though we’re a few days late with this list and Valentine’s day 2017 is gone, here are six Nigerian soul sounds that’ll definitely melt your heart this month of love (in no particular order):

1. Fe mi by Brymo
This song sets an amazing mood for ‘alone time’ with bae. Using the one of a kind richness and soulfulness of his voice, Brymo describes at length how she makes him comfortable, takes care of him, and how she finally makes him feel when they’re alone without being too ‘graphic’. This is definitely a mood setting song, great for the season.

2. Aduke by Tjan
This would have been the perfect song for a Valentine’s day proposal seeing as the main crux of the song is asking his lover to be his wife. Of course if you missed Valentine’s day for that romantic proposal, we’re still in the love season so it still works.

3. Omote by Ese Peters
This song has promises flying around.. Promises that can melt anyone’s heart. I love how the instrumentation is nice, simple and doesn’t interfere with the words. Sounds like someone reading his wedding vows. I mean you want to hear those promises clearly so you can hold him accountable for every word. So damn romantic!

4. My Beautiful Love by Johnny Drille
A bit upbeat, and ‘country-ish’, this song comes from the angle of a man who can’t do without his lover. The instrumentation of this song is also really heart-warming and can make even make for a complete song on its own. Very beautiful song that can make anyone feel appreciated.

5. Ayanfe Mi by Nayo Soul
For those who didn’t know, ‘Ayanfe Mi’ means ‘My beloved’. If you haven’t heard this song, you need to get you some of it. The calmness of Nayo Soul’s voice in this song is so soul-soothing and priceless. Great love song.

6. O to’jo Meta by Tonie the emperor ft. pHisayo
I promise you, you haven’t heard any love song quite like the one in this song! This is a track that perfectly fuses soul music and spoken word together. It builds up this bout of interesting suspense and then shocks you with its surprisingly romantic ending. It is sure to make one blush and giggle. I definitely love it!

There are too many others, the list is too long to exhaust. Please feel free to add more songs to this list.
Happy Valentine’s Season (if any such thing exists).

Love,

Yemisi!

Advertisements

5 Tips For Enjoying Jazz Music for a Beginner

I’ll start by stating the obvious: jazz music is receiving less and less popularity in the minds of Nigerians.

Jazz happens to be one of those complex genres of music. It makes use of a lot of musical improvisation, conflicting rhythms, and interruptions in regular flow of rhythm. It also borrows a lot of aspects of African music and American pop. Needless to say, jazz music may prove very hard to understand and relate with, hence difficult to enjoy. Not everyone can understand why there is a song without any words.

It’s no wonder that the younger generation (of which I am proudly a part) will rather just listen to popular/mainstream type genres of music. Whilst this is not such a bad thing, I still strongly believe that jazz music can be enjoyed and is worth exploring.
Let’s share a few tips you can try out if you would be interested in dipping your hands into this genre of music:

Know that this journey is not about your friends
People usually revere people who can relate with jazz music because it is believed to be something for people of a particular level of intellect. So you may somewhat be tempted to go into jazz to impress your friends. Ask yourself; am I really interested in this? It’s not such a bad thing not to be! It’s about you! As tempting and elitist as it is to be able to speak about jazz and the artistes and what ‘this’ and ‘that’ jazz track means to you, you need to know that enjoying this genre is about yourself and not about impressing people. Else this journey will become like ‘homework’. You’ll only appreciate jazz if you set out to listen to it and love it for yourself!

Read about it
There are many materials out there that can gradually expose you to what you’re getting into. Read about the history of jazz, the old artistes, and the contemporary ones. Read about jazz in your own country and your own locality. What you will find will amaze you!

Understand Jazz
All types of music have their own peculiarities. Look out for those of jazz. The one beautiful thing that sets jazz music apart from other genres is ‘improvisation’. Jazz musician tend to play around with improvisations which means that they make up their music, their tunes, and harmonies up on the spot (More like a freestyle type thing)! This is why sometimes when you listen to jazz, it feels like the melody suddenly changes. To appreciate jazz, you need to observe the improvisations and how they’re used. Figure out the instrumentation. Listen to the melody. Observing and identifying will help you get into it even more.

Attend live jazz events
Whether it’s rock, soul, R and B, fuji, reggae or jazz, a live experience is the best way to enjoy it. Look out for events happening around you where jazz artistes are performing. In Lagos, I’ve heard of Jazzhole in Victoria Island (even though I have never been there). I also know of Inspiro Productions’ Annual Lagos Jazz festival and Lagos Jazz Series. Find yourself in such events, and this will help improve your experience

Find other lovers of jazz
Just like every other interest, talking to other like-minded people helps you grow even more. So join a social a social media group, follow a page or a blog. Share your experience. If you do meet a local artiste who would like to be your friend, that’s even better! Talk to him or her about their work and their inspiration. Let them tell you what they were think at a particular event, or while recording a particular track.

I do hope these tips help and will help you open your mind to receive more jazz music.

Bonus Tip:
Sometimes I like to make up my own words to their instrumentation. It helps me feel like I’m in the head of the artiste!

A Review of the Lagos International Jazz Festival 2016.

So if you read my blog late last month, you’d remember we talked about three places you could celebrate the International Jazz Day. Well, I was at two of the events. Got a couple of free tickets for the Runway Jazz (thanks to Smooth Fm). So I attended that on Friday evening, and then I did Lagos International Jazz Festival on Saturday.

lagos international jazz festival

High Points
Let’s start like this; the event was fun for me! Like most events in Freedom Park, there was space to stroll around, less ‘paparazzi’, and it was all free (Of course I loved that!) Loads of bands and artistes were also there to perform, so there was a wide variety of activities. The performances were also very ‘LIT’. In the usual fashion of the Lagos International Jazz Festival, there was more than one stage and I was mostly at the bigger stage which was somewhere around the second gate end of Freedom Park.

This stage was where most of the action was happening as most of the crowd was here. The event kicked off really well with ‘Tonie the Emperor’ as he delivered an awesome solo acoustic session. It then continued to gain momentum with various bands coming up the stage to perform live. Anyone who knows me already knows that my heart is sold out to live music, and any show that encourages artistes to perform live already has my heart. This event has my heart 100% for this. From the ‘Empress’ to the 15-man band called ‘JAYA BAND’, down to ‘Tayo Konga’ and his band, all the performances were very lively and energetic. I would say it was an enjoyable show!

Low Points
The thing about it however, is that I expected more! I believe since it was called ‘Lagos International Jazz Festival’, there should have been more jazz than what we had there. A lot of the acts that featured there were afro-beat acts.

Now, I know someone would say to me that afro beat is a ‘baby’ of jazz. Yes, I agree. Jazz is a major influence on what afrobeat has become today but I do also think that there is a clear distinction between both genres and for an event that was a celebration of jazz, the afrobeat could have been a lot more downplayed. I had to take a little stroll to the second and smaller stage to which less attention was paid to begin to experience some jazz. There was this amazing three (or four)- man band whose name I didn’t get that was really amazing and the drummer totally killed it. The Survival band who performed on the larger stage were also very awesome and they gave us good jazz too.

Sometime last year also, I listened to a radio show last year where I learnt that Lekan Babalola (the legendary percussionist) was supposed to curate the event. Apart from the music, the event was supposed to delve deep into the culture of Lagos; the food, the dance, the art etc. All these heightened my excitement and expectation. Well, I didn’t see any of these. Everything I was looking forward to was nowhere in sight and I wasn’t very impressed about this.

If you were at the event in 2014, you probably remember what the event was like. There were like 6 different stages or so (named after various veteran artistes) with various jazz artistes and bands, and even the other genres were well blended into the program, such that no one genre was pre-dominant. That year, I was somewhat confused on what stage to watch from because there was great music coming out of all stages. I also hear (even though I wasn’t there), that the 2015 edition was like that as well. Even though the show had a very beautiful and dramatic end with very spell-binding performances from ‘Tari-Guitari’ and the opening act ‘Tonie the Emperor’, I would describe it as a watered-down version of the 2014 and 2015 events.

All in all, I do love the idea of the ‘Lagos International Jazz Festival’. It is a fantastic innovation and it should definitely continue. But not without a few necessary improvements. Thumbs up Inspiro Productions on the success of 2016 edition. Thanks for giving us this great show. Would I be there again in 2017? Oh yes! Definitely!

Review of Brymo’s Latest Album – Klitoris

The first thing that drew me to this track was the title. How very daring! I guess that was something to attract you and I and it worked. I hear Klitoris is a Greek word or something like that. The cover art is also very ‘one-kind’. Hmm Brymo!! For those whose minds are in the gutter, there is almost nothing sexual about this album. It is actually very conscious, and I am not sure I heard any cuss words. It took me a while to actually find time to listen to it. But after the twitter wahala where he described the album as the ‘album of the year’, for many years to come’, I knew it was a must-listen.

It is an 11-track album and has only one feature. This album has me like ‘Who writes Brymo’s songs?’ Really nice well thought out lyrics all through the album and for that I must say ‘KUDOS’!

Track 1: Naked ft. Esse
This track starts out like a Nollywood soundtrack for the first few seconds. I nearly skipped it to the next track and then Brymo’s amazing and soulful vocals captured me and kept me listening till the end. The first line keeps you very interested in what else the song has to say. Very smooth track that makes you want to listen to rest of the album. The song also features “Esse” whose voice I couldn’t really make out; but I guess it’s probably hidden somewhere in the chorus.

Track 2: Dem Dey Go
The song reminds me of his Duro song (which I love like crazy). Another song which carries a story and a very strong message. I think the best part of this song is the very beautiful production. It is a very quiet song, rich and I can say that I hear this song in my heart. Lovely song.

Track 3: Happy Memories
This song truly gives me happy memories. Sweet, soulful love song puts me in a romantic mood and instinctively makes me want to share a hug. Great song to listen when you’re alone with bae. I love it!

Track 4: Ko S’aya mi
Very similar to Happy Memories, but has a folk twist to it. Also a love song, I love the use of Yoruba on this track. I am not particularly excited about the hook of this song because it kind of gets boring. Apart from that, I think it is a beautiful track as well.

Track 5: Alajo Somolu
By far my absolute favourite track on this album! I love afro beat!! This is the one track that made me anticipate the album. I think Brymo killed it. ‘Alajo Somolu’ is something my mum used to make reference too every time she spoke about a smart person so the song for me is highly relatable.
Brymo-Klitoris-600x486
Track 6: Something Good is happening

Sounds very much like Asa’s ‘Bimpe’. I love love love the lyrics of this song, very creatively written and I love the production too (I especially love the drums). It’s a wonderful song of hope and I like the way it ends.

Track 7: Billion Naira Dream
While I think this song is brilliantly written, the sound doesn’t really speak to me. I feel like it gets a bit drab. I think more could have been done with it to make it come out fuller and richer. Maybe like what Darey did with the Soweto choir on the ‘Pray for me’ song. However, Brymo kills it with his vocals as always and makes it bearable.

Track 8: Let’s Make Love
Very similar to Track 7 but acoustic for the most part. Great vocals and interesting lyrics and nice piano work. Vocals also on point. I expected a high point where there’ll be some sort of modulation or something; well, I didn’t get it and that was rather disappointing. But then, this is a nice track for night time.

Track 9: Mirage
Also very similar to track 7 and 8, it didn’t really do too much for me. I like the intro though.

Track 10: The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Just when I’m about to sleep off after track 9, track 10 gives me something different. *THANK GOODNESS*. The reggaeton twist is really refreshing and I love love love this song!

Track 11: The Girl from Newyork
The album ends with this really nice track. For a song that has actual words, I think the intro is too long. But the song is fantastic and I like it.

This is a really nice album I must say! Is it the ‘album of the year’? I wouldn’t say so.. But is it worth buying, keeping and repeating? Of course it is! Well done Brymo! Have I mentioned at any point what his voice does to me?

Naija & Alternative Music Reviews: Ed Izycs’ EP – ‘Songs of Izycs’

So I have been postponing this for a while. I’m so excited that I finally get to review an EP that I would like to describe as ‘one of a kind’. Sometime in December 2015, I got invited to the launch of an Extended Play by an artiste who was relatively new at the time called ‘Ed Izycs’. For those who don’t know,  know, Ed Izycs is a Nigerian jazz artiste and multi-instrumentalist currently signed to Cadilly Entertainment.

ed-izycs

My initial reaction to this was two-fold. First, I’d stumbled on one of his songs and also a live performance at Bogobiri and I’d been swept away by his art. On the other hand, I wasn’t quite sure what the reception of his type of music would be like. In any case, I really just wanted to have an evening out enjoying good jazz and also finding out what this man had for us. I grabbed myself a copy of the EP at the event.

Enough about the EP launch and straight to the EP itself. The EP consists 8 fully instrumental (no words at all) songs. Though predominantly jazz, some of the tracks can be said to be a fusion of jazz and other genres such as soul and folk. The EP features only one artiste ‘Tonie the Emperor’.

Track 1: Celebration
No skit, no 10 seconds intro song.. Ed jumps right into it by giving us the first track called ‘Celebration’. Aptly titled! This song reeks of ‘joy and celebration’. Even though it’s not exactly fast tempo, I can’t help but smile while listening to this song. It has a way of creeping up into you mind and bringing up great memories. A lot of piano and flute work went into this and I would say the result is fireworks in my mind!

Track 2: Nostalgia ft. Tonie the Emperor
This happens to be my favourite track on this EP. If it were left to me, I would probably title the song ‘sunset’ because it has this folk-ish sound that may remind one of ‘tales by moonlight’. There’s something very resounding about the sound of the drums. The second verse of the song had whole guitar thing going on and it was really beautiful too. I also really love the chorus. I absolutely love this song!

Track 3: Jamboree
You see, this song doesn’t even start out like a ‘jamboree’. But then a sudden spin jumps at you where the tempo gets real fast and danceable. Sound like there should’ve been a rapper on it dropping a few bars. I would definitely turn up to this sound! Love it!

Track 4: Ojuelegba (Jazz Cover)
A jazz version of the popular ‘Ojuelegba’ by Wizkid. I like it… I mean I don’t think it’s special. But I think it was a good attempt at recreating the song. It’s a song that a band would jam half way through a concert for you to refresh for the second half. I would play this on a rainy day while clutching a cup of tea.

Track 5: Bloody Rose
A song that obviously tells a deep story. Gentle and quiet at the beginning (where you only hear the keyboard), it progresses step by step (in a way that keeps one expecting) and gets more and more intense with the introduction of more instruments. It is really soulful and can leave one in deep thought. It really sounds like a sad song and I feel like a lot went into the production. A pretty awesome track!

Track 6: Light
Yanni! Yanni!! Yanni!!! I definitely do not hear this song in my ears but in my heart just like most Yanni tracks. Though very complex with improvisations flying around everywhere, this is still a relaxing, pleasing and beautiful song!

Track 7: Woju Cover
He had to cover the big songs of 2015. Lol.. I really love Ed Izycs’ take on Kiss Daniel’s Woju. He worked pop and jazz together wonderfully here with a little soukous. I prefer this to his take on Ojuelegba. Very brilliant!

Track 8: Awesomeness
I believe the idea behind this was turn up!!! Because this is definitely a great track to dance to. Fast tempo and very soukous-ish too. It’s a great way to wrap up the EP!

All in all, Ed Izycs has an absolutely amazing mastery of his art and the strategic use of his knowledge of various instruments totally works for him. There are very few albums around which don’t make me feel like skipping at least one or two tracks and this is one of them. (He also threw in a CD into the package that contains videos to 3 of the songs just in case we wanted to know the stories the songs were telling). I would rate ‘Songz of Izycs’ EP an A1, and I cannot wait for the full album to be released.

P.S. Listen to my favourite track (Nostalgia ft. Tonie the Emperor) on the EP

Alternative Singer ‘Isaac Geralds’ signs record deal with Athena Records.

Hey guys,

isaac-geralds

Project Fame Alumnus, performer, singer and songwriter has signed a record deal with Athena Records on Saturday the 15th of October, 2016.

img-20161016-wa0002

The fast rising ‘RnB’ singer has remained unstoppable since he gave us songs like ‘Fall-In-Love’, Ijebu Girl, ‘Just In Case ft. Tiwa Savage’ and ‘Cross Your Mind’. You will also recall the massive success that was his concert ‘Isaac Geralds Experience 2’ which literally sold out the Hard Rock Cafe Lagos on Thursday the 11th of August, and where he brought his fresh edge to live music.

img-20161016-wa0001

Naija and Alternative Music is just glad to see that Nigerian entertainment is paying more attention to alternative music and is supporting amazing talents like Isaac.

Congratulations Isaac Geralds! We can’t wait to see what you do next. We will definitely be following up on that!

 

The perfect combination of Spoken word and music: O to’jo meta by Tonie the Emperor and pHisayo

Hey guys,

I have come with my everyday apologies again. I’m sorry, things just keep on happening..

Anyway today I am bring you a really really fresh one. Dropped on the radio for the very first time today! And it’s really different. It’s an amazing spoken word piece with a soulfully rich hook by Tonie the Emperor and Narrator pHisayo. It’s a great story with a beautiful plot twist that I haven’t been able to get over since I heard it.

Don’t believe me? Watch below!

You like abi?

Leave a comment below!

Tootles,

Yemisi