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 “Bamidele”: A Narrative Lyrical Analysis

When Bukola Elemide (a.k.a. Asa) released the song, Bamidele, which would become a bonus track on Beautiful Imperfection, her 13-track album, I wonder where in the world I was. I never heard of the song until I stumbled on the MP3 last week and I must have listened to it well over a hundred times by now. Truth is: I love really good songs (and who doesn’t?), but it’s been a while since I fell totally in love (obsessed, even) with a song to this magnitude. In this masterpiece, Asa has proven herself again as a force to be reckoned with in the world of music!

Bamidele is a piano-and-other-strings-driven, jaunty jazz ballad that satirizes a recurrent story of love, lies, betrayal, and family values, from the point of view of an impressionable and naïve young girl; in this case, she could easily be a secondary school girl from the inner city of Ibadan, Oyo State, as Asa deftly infuses the native dialect, mimicking the poor girl. Asa invokes feelings of pain, frustration and regret as she repeats the villain’s name – Akinyele, a native Oyo name. I particularly find the chord progression (7-3-6-2-5-1) at the refrain quite alluring and soul piercing even as she sings on the pentatonic scale. This song, like any other work of art, is subject to a variety of interpretations, so here goes my lyrical analysis:

Bi’nu e ba dun, bi’nu e o ba dun (Whether you are happy, or not)
On’ lati bami dele (You need to follow me home)
Bi o ba fe, bi o ba ko ye (Whether you like it, or you refuse to)
On’ lati bami dele ba’mi (You must follow me to my father’s house)

Akinyele wants to marry wife/ He don’t want to pay some bride price/ You better find it
Akinyele omo Jinadu (Akinyele Jinadu)
He don’t want to pay some bride price/ You better find it
Akinyele o… (x8)

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Photo Credit: Asa (c) Nicolas Esposito