02. Iya Mi Jowo
03. Bayi L’ense
04. Orin Aro
05. Dibe Nuwa
06. Osupa II
The album opens and closes with two versions of “Osupa.” It is sung to the moon, asking her to light up the night, as she did when people sat outside their houses eating and storytelling, in earlier times. Both feature talking drum, but the closing “Osupa 2,” taken at a slightly faster pace, also includes electric guitar. Non-Yoruba speakers may not precisely understand the words, but the song’s general ambiance – a soothing and peaceful one – is clear. Unusually, on “Osupa 1,” Wright is featured as third vocalist.
The second track, “Iya Mi Jowo” (“mother please”), is a rearrangement ofthe Lijadu Sisters’ original 1968 recording for Decca. It was the first song Taiwo wrote. “One day, when we awoke,” says Taiwo, “our mother was cold to us. When we returned from school, she was still cold. We had somehow disappointed her. I sat down and wrote the song – which says ‘whatever I have done to sadden you, mother, please, forgive me’ – at her feet. The whole thing just came out. At the end, I looked at her, and she was crying.” There’s an attractive highlife lilt to the song.
“Bayi L’ense,” which follows, has a deep groove which resonates with contemporary apala, fuji and waka music (waka was the female version of apala and fuji, both male preserves). Throughout, a mesmerizing tenor ostinato is played on a traditional Yoruba string instrument, the goje, or on a guitar sounding very much like a goje. The song is about “two-faced people” – including, but not limited to, those who used to criticise Taiwo for going out with Ginger Baker (a white man!).
“Dibe Nuwa,” sung in Yoruba and Ibo, is a plea for peace in the world. The 1967-70 civil war between Federal Nigeria and its eastern state, Biafra (the home of the Ibo people), was still raw in the national psyche, and its memory helped inspire the lyric.