Asa’s “Broda Ole”: A Narrative Lyrical Analysis

Today, we head back to the suburbs – the outskirts of Lagos, maybe. Asa tells the story of a no-nonsense mother whose impressionable child is being wrongly influenced by a notorious neighbour. Ironically on a jolly beat, the narrator sends a serious message to her object of scorn and his girlfriend. Here goes:

Oh! Ah!! Mo gbo n’pe (Oh! ah! I heard)
Eyin ni broda oke (You are the fellow who lives upstairs)
Eyin l’e n k’omo mi l’ole, ah ah ah (You teach my child to steal)
Oh! Ah!! Mo gbo n’pe (Oh! Ah!! I heard)
Eyin ni sista oke (You are the lady who lives upstairs)
Eyin l’e n fe broda ole, ah ah ah (You are engaged to the crook)

She hurries into bridge, giving a mention to other neighbours who are troubled by the notorious neighbour’s negative influence on their children – as if reading out the names of all parties to a petition. The cast is not far from the everyday characters that acclaimed Nigerian writer, Teju Cole, brings to life in his “small fates”.

Iya Sidi, oni ‘diri mi (Sidi’s mum – my hairdresser)
Sisi Uche egbon ore mi (Uche, my friend’s elder sister)
Awon lo ran mi wa o o (They all sent me to you!)
Bobo Musa onireke wa (Musa, the male sugarcane seller)
Iya Mulika ol’omo meje (Mulika’s mum – mother of seven)
Awon lo ran mi wa o (They all sent me to you)

As if the notorious neighbour is distracted by her serious, albeit funny stance, she reiterates her seriousness about the matter at hand – and I can picture her clapping both hands, holding her sides and shaking her waist in sync with the rest of her body.

Eyi ko n soro erin (This is not ‘a laughing matter’)
E ma je n so fun anybody, ah ah ah (Don’t let me expose you to the people)
I’m talking to you, talking to you
T’ori olorun mo be o (I beg you in the name of God)
E ma je n so fun anybody, ah ah ah (Don’t let me expose you to people)
I’m talking to you, talking to you

She is angered, perhaps by the man’s silence and amusing looks, so she flares up further.

Oh! Ah!! Mo gbo n’pe eyin ni oga ole (Oh ah! I heard you are the leader of a robbery gang)
E de n se bi Olorun, ah ah ah (And you are acting like you’re God)
Omo mi mo f’iya bi, on f’oju di mi (My child whom I bore in sweat now dares me)
O n s’oro mi l’aida ; pe eyin ni Olorun (He/she speaks evil of me; that you are God)

Emi l’omo olokun meji; (I can be troublesome)
E lo bere mi l’owo anybody (Go ask about me from anybody)
E ma ma wa ‘ja mi o o (Don’t you dare me!)
Oh oh oh, oh oh
Omo to ni ‘ya re ko ni sun (The child who says his/her mother would not sleep)
Oun gangan ko ni f’oju sun (He/she is the one who would lose sleep)
E ma ma wa ‘ja mi o o (Don’t you dare me!)
Oh oh oh, oh oh

The brass-section players are let loose here like never before since the beginning of the song. Back-up vocals also come alive, never singing a word…

Eyi ko n soro erin (This is not a laughing matter)
E ma je n so fun anybody, ah ah ah (Don’t let me expose you to other people)
I’m talking to you, talking to you
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Eyi ko n soro a ri fin (This is not a laughing matter)
E ma je n so fun anybody, ah ah ah (Don’t let me expose you to other people)
I’m talking to you, talking to you, Eh!

The strings take turns as Asa takes liberty with musical notes, scat-singing like one tired of repeating same thing the umpteenth time. She soon repeats the familiar line even as the tempo picks up again. The brass players have fun again.

Eyi ko n soro erin (This is not a laughing matter)
E ma je n so fun anybody, ah ah ah (Don’t let me expose you to people)
I’m talking to you, talking to you
T’ori olorun mo be o (I beg you in the name of God)
E ma je n ro jo mi fun anybody, ah ah ah (Don’t let me expose you to people)
I’m talking to you, talking to you

She sneers, but the lively piece continues till fade just five seconds short of four minutes.

Ori abiamo a mu e l’oni o, a mu e l’oni o (Nemesis will catch up with you today)
Ah, ah, ah ah
A ni, ori abiamo a mu e l’oni o, a mu e l’oni o (Nemesis will catch up with you today)
Ah, ah, ah ah

Ye ye ye, eyin die die die
Eyin agbaya eh; eyin agbaya ah (You good-for-nothing adult x2)

This is a brilliant, entertaining work of art. Again, thanks Asa!

Listen to Broda Ole here: :http://gbengaawomodu.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/11-Broda-Olé.mp3|titles=11

Photo credit: www.fredprat.com

*This post was originally published here: Asa’s “Broda Ole”: A Narrative Lyrical Analysis

Asa’s “Bibanke”: A Narrative Lyrical Analysis

Bibanke, a track from Asa‘s first album, is a dirge for love lost. It is a cliche tale of the natural death that love experiences when one of the two parties in a relationship senses danger signals early on in a relationship, but continues to fall deeper into the abyss, until they suddenly hit rock bottom. Sorrow is inevitable as the obsession grips the narrator from verse one:

I wake up I see you as you leave
I feel it, I see it as you leave
When we kiss I want deep, but you’re far away

Finish reading here: Asa’s “Bibanke”: A Narrative Lyrical Analysis

Asa’s “Awe”: A Narrative Lyrical Analysis

Perhaps, I am well on my way to becoming an Asa scholar of sorts. In this third installment in a serial analysis of Asa’s songs, mostly those with heavy Yoruba lyrics, I take a swift journey through Bukola Elemide’s “Awe”. A track from her eponymous debut album, this ballad, sung on the pentatonic scale, unfolds the story of a young man caught up in a romantic affair with a much older woman. This is easily the story of quasi rural-urban migration gone sour, where a young man is given a lease of life from the bucolic trappings and socio-economic realities of the village in suburban Lagos, but naively gives in to one of the evils of the much more sophisticated city life. In the first verse, the narrator –his aunt, as we soon discover– quizzes Waheed, the protagonist. Finish up the post here: Asa’s “Awe”: A Narrative Lyrical Analysis

Asa’s “Bimpe” & the New Blog Posting Schedule for Gbenga’s Notebook!

It’s been quite a while –over a week actually, that I last made a post on this blog. I’ve been thinking about it and realised it would be a lot better to put proper structure to the frequency of posts here. From now on, every Tuesday and Friday, I will post new content to this blog and provide links to my articles, interviews, and short stories when they are published on other web portals. Occasionally, there may be a third day of posting.

In the coming weeks and months, I will be doing guest posts (on other blogs) and getting published on several platforms, but you can be sure to get the links here. I will also provide exclusive “Behind-the-Scene” tales here –what you will hardly see anywhere else. I have done a number of Interviews on BellaNaija.com and I think you mind find some of the intricacies involved in putting those interviews together quite interesting. I will be sharing how I met some of the interviewees and why I decided to interview them; how energy-sapping and emotionally challenging some have been and a host of other bonus stuff.

About three weeks ago, I wrote a narrative lyrical analysis of “Bamidele”, a bonus track on Beautiful Imperfections, Asa’s sophomore album. Asa is one of Nigeria’s most respected musicians/guitarists at the moment and she has toured Nigeria, the United States, France and several other countries in Europe. I enjoy her music a lot and the beautiful, often playful, way she presents her satire. She is a social critic who does her thing with a bias for the Yoruba Language. That language is filled with a lot of poetry and idioms that only very few people can interpret exactly. But that’s for another day.

After my analysis of that track (Bamidele), many of the readers on BN pleaded for a similar post for “Bimpe”, another beautiful piece which could have easily been my favourite, if not that it’s not as slow as “Bamidele”. You can read the full narrative lyrical analysis on Asa’s Bimpe on BellaNaija here. Kindly let me know via your comments here, what you think about the new posting schedule on this blog and what you think of my narrative analyses on those two songs from Asa’s sophomore album! -GN!

Photo credit: blog.theapronthief.com