Ibejii Shares His African Story In Songs On ‘Ìlù ìlú’

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Artiste –Ibejii

Album – Ìlù ìlú

Producers – NIL

Record Label – Ibejii Music

Duration –  9 Tracks, (Approx. 32 Minutes). 

Folklore and Afro-retro singer Ibejii dropped ‘Ìlù ìlú‘ his fourth studio album some days ago, his fourth album in four years. ‘Ìlù ìlú’ follows other projects like MSML, Tribal Marks and GreenWhiteDope in the singer’s growing discography.

The singer latest album is inspired by mostly his environment hence the title ‘Ìlù ìlú’ which loosely means ‘sound of a town’. Ibejii mirrors the pulse of a people, the good the bad and ugly as the case maybe. Mostly it talks about pain and the need to heal and be free.

The album generally resonates the culture of the Yoruba people as the lyrics are mostly sung in Yoruba and English. African percussion plays throughout the 9 tracks with varying intensity and rhythm interpolated with harmonic strings. Ibejii makes a great effort to keep his album short and sweet with a runtime of about 32 minutes. It’s nothing loud but something soulful and straight from the heart.

Ibejii sets the mood for the entire album with the first track ‘Ìlù ìlú‘ a typical folk song accompanied with heavy percussion and melancholic chants in Yoruba. The mood on the track gradually lightens as the strings and other instruments chime in. It drips down to the next track ‘Leke Leke‘ named after the white cattle egret bird. It was almost a tradition around here for kids to make wishes when they caught sight of the bird flying across. The singer metaphorically wishes the cattle egret can bring back the lost loved one back to life as well as other throbbing heart desires.

Midnight Strings‘ is a soliloquy of an estranged lover who relishes the fun times with his lover under the gaze of nature. The record continues with audible mumbles in Yoruba with voice laden with longing for love. The mood of the album noticeably shifts to a lighter and happier one on ‘Orisa Bi Iya‘ as the strings and horns precedes the vocals. Ibejii celebrates motherhood and the unwavering love of a mother through thick and thin, the horns lead while the singer’s vocals blend in. Up next is the retrospective track ‘Imu Ko Ku‘ a sober reflection of human nature, of fake friends and betrayals. It is calm and gentle as the lyrics draws you in with an Asa-que guitar playing in the background.

With more than half of the album gone, Ibejii still has more stories to tell on track number six ‘Boda Suraju‘. A familiar tale of the prodigal who sojourns to the city as gets lost in the razzmatazz. ‘Iyanu mashele soonest‘ the singer reassures that a miracle would happen soon for those who believe work hard and remain steadfast.

Omo Olu Iya‘ is about the most exciting track on the album with sounds of the Yoruba talking drums enveloping the entire record. The tune is celebratory as Ibejii states all that he is and takes pride in. You might be tempted to sway your body from side to side as the nearly 4 minutes track gets better with each second.

The elevated mood on the previous track drops several notches on ‘I Quit‘. Although the mood is sombre it gives a firm resolve to be independent and live life on your terms, no more being a people pleaser. Ibejii brings the journey to a halt with the cry of a ‘Trouble Soul‘.

Lots of work undoubtedly went into the making of this album and the effort was worth it as it came out succinct. The album capture three moods as follows; hope, confidence and liberation. Ibejii unpacks his culture and heritage through each track on the album.

‘Ìlù ìlú’ is arranged so that it’s best parts hits you right in the middle of it. The songwriting is good, but the vocal could have been better. Somewhere it feels the artiste’s voice was drowned by the instrumentals.

The best parts of ‘Ìlù ìlú’ is the Africanness and the beautiful stories it bares.

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