Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Asa's Songs: Awe, Bibanke

It seems a lot of people were interested in hearing the gist behind Asa's songs after I wrote the review of her London concert. So here goes:

Awe: This is a story about a young man (Waheedi), his aunt and his lover. This young man grew up in the village and when he grew older and finished school, he left the village to go to Lagos. In Lagos, he stayed with his aunt, and she helps him to secure a job. For some time, everything is fine. He goes to work everyday, comes home everyday and he gets on well with his aunt. Then one day he met a woman. She is older than him but it doesn't matter, they fall in love. Their relationship is deep and passionate, they engage in trysts at every chance they get. And what do you expect? The woman soon got pregnant. She told Waheedi about the pregnancy and he vanished for three days. In the meantime, the woman goes to his house to look for him and met his aunt. She tells the aunt that she is looking for Waheedi and she is carrying his baby. His aunt is obviously not pleased to hear this. When Waheedi eventually turns up, his aunt confronts him and what she's saying is the basis of the song. She is asking:
"Where have you been for the past three days? How come that woman who is old enough to be your mother said she is pregnant and it's your baby?"
Anyway, when his lover finally gives birth to the baby, there are more questions than answers. The baby doesn't quite look like Waheedi and his aunt comments on this:
"How come you are dark skinned and the baby is light skinned?"

She also mentions how they are related through his mum and grandmother. She ends the song by telling him she has enough problems on her plate, so she is not in the mood to deal with his own issues too. And so the story goes on....

Bibanke: This is the story of love turning bad. Asa has said in interviews that she wrote the song based on the experiences of her mum, her sister and a friend. It is about love that started very well in the beginning. When everything starts off being rosy, she holds on to all the promises the guy tells her and she is sucked in by his words. So much so that when it turns bad, she doesn't want to let go. The guy starts toying with her emotions, disrespecting her, blowing hot one minute and cold, the next. But she holds on to the negative relationship, making excuses for the guy, keeping up apprearances on the outside, even though she is breaking down inside.
Eventually, the guy leaves her and her bubble bursts. She needs to cry and let out all the emotions she has been keeping up bottled up inside for so long. She cries and cries and refuses to be consoled. She asks everyone to leave her alone to cry, even if she cries a river or a waterfall. But through her tears, she is washing away the hurt and pain. She will cry until she doesn't feel the hurt and rejection anymore. Then she will leave the guy, their relationship and everything to God.

Interesting stories right? (Beware your private life ending up in an album if your friend is an aspiring singer!) I love Asa though, she rocks!


  1. Thanks for sharing the background stories for the songs...it's quite deep.

    And yes, Asa does rock!

  2. Waoh, i am a proper yoruba gurl

    but i never understood that song like that.

    Thanks for the insight

    ASA rawks!

  3. Hmnnn.... listening to that song, i was wondering, but i wonder no more. How'v u been?

  4. Anonymous5:35 PM

    awe is a funny song sha.i didnt get the bit about the lady being older
    as for bibanke, didnt asa already expose her mom in 'beautiful'. when i heard nitori omo, o jiya, n'ile oko, i was dang is her pops still in the picture? lol, anyway now me and my sister cant play that song at my moms birthday because its a little too close to the truth. it is the story of many nigerian women though

  5. Thanks for the warning. Wouldn't like my private life to turn into a song either.

  6. Anonymous12:39 AM

    There's more. The Awe song built up to a crescendo of trouble at the king's palace - "ewa wo ja ni afin oba ejigbo". Dat song is a musical masterpiece especially the way the violins help set up the various transitions. I'm only sorry a lot of people missed out by not being in on the lingo.

  7. Matete6:32 PM

    I'm afraid I'm a late comer to her music, but I think it's brilliant anyhow. And once more, ta for breaking it down for us (south African, hello!). Asa is the best thing to ever hit Africa in a very long time.


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