Life

Thank You For The Music

I.

Oh all alone,

when I think about the good times

that we shared together baby…

Some days ago, I left the heat and darkness of my room to go hang out with friends. Amidst all the banter, someone played Never Far Away by Lagbaja, and it felt like I had stepped into a time machine. Nostalgia came knocking. She took me back to younger days and simpler years.

She took me to the house I grew up in, and to times spent playing with my neighbour’s daughter, Chiamaka. We spent an awful amount of time in each other’s houses. When my parents weren’t in, we would play Lagbaja’s CD on a large TV with a small screen, watching with fascination, wondering who the man behind the mask was, following the lyrics on the screen while our bodies moved ever so slightly to the music.

We were sworn sisters and nothing in the world was going to separate us. Until my family had to move. I remember how that my sadness had been too deep, too heavy for me to cry. My last memory of her is watching her wave as my father’s car drove away for what would be last time. I knelt on the backseat, fighting back tears, waving hard until she faded away.

Lol. Why am I crying a bit now? Silly.

II.

Odun nlo sopin o

Baba rere

Fi sho re sho wa o

During Christmas holidays, as kids in some parts of the world listened to Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas’, I was in my grandmother’s house listening to a more indigenous classic.

I would follow her to the Yoruba speaking Church she attended.  I didn’t understand most of what was going on, but I remember choristers in oversized blue and white suits, performed Odun N Lo Sopin at the end of the every year.

When that song is played, what I really hear, is the sound of my grandmother’s pepper stew simmering, the slap of her slippers against the cemented floor as she comes to wake me up for school, the roaring of her old Mitsubishi as she starts the engine to life.

Also, are you really a serious person if this jam is not on your Christmas playlist already?

III.

Vul’indlela wemamgobhozi

He unyana wam

Helele uyashada namhlanje…

Brenda Fassie was a huge part of my childhood, as my dad played her music a lot. I like to listen to it particularly on days when home feels distant. Her music takes me to hot Sunday afternoons with my family, orange plates of jollof rice and sweaty bottles of Pepsi. We would sit in front of the television to watch beauty pageants, and when they weren’t showing my father would play old Brenda CDs.

I miss those Sunday afternoons, before everything got serious. Now no one’s really at home long enough to sit in front of the television.

IV.

What is that piece of music you hear, that transports you back in time and space?

As I type this, I’m listening to Boney M’s Ride to Agadir. The music takes me to a cold morning, I am in my dad’s old green Mercedes on the way to school. I’m late for school but we’re both singing and nodding along to the music.

What are the soundtracks of your life?

Where do they take you to?

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