Earlier this month, folk singer Ibeji released a beauty. He might have stumbled into his musical journey in 2016, but just four years after, he already embodies a level of artistry that’s so rare in these parts. With his last album “Tribal marks,” Ibeji showed us that he had mastered the art of crafting an insightful thematic body of work. And with his new album, “ILÙ ILÚ”, Ibeji reminds us that he hasn’t veered off that track.
Across nine tracks, “ILÙ ILÚ” plays as a sonic adventure into the rich cultures of Yoruba land. It’s subject matter, lyrics, and instrumentation is heavily inspired by a tradition Ibeji appears to be very proud of. And he enjoins us to join him in showing off that pride In the opening and titular track, ‘ILÙ ILÚ’ — a modernised Yoruba folk song and dictum reminding this lost generation to take pride in its roots. The record is well delivered in a soothing blend of African percussion and western strings that drives home the message. If there was such a thing as an African(ized) classical music,’ILÙ ILÚ’ is exactly what it’d sound like.
Another standout on the album ‘Boda Suraju’ is a classic tale of the fruitfulness of hard work, patience and resilience. On ‘Orisa Bi Iya’ is an ode to mothers, idolizing their essence.
All across the project, Ibeji sounds like an “omo odo agba,” one who has learned at the feet of the aged. Of course, it is a project that both the old and young can understand, rally around, and vibe to. It is the celebration of a culture that every Yoruba and African by extension should feel very proud of.
No doubt, at a time where Afrobeats is dominantly deafening, “ILÙ ILÚ” plays as a timely reminder that there are even more equally rich Nigerian sounds all over. This project comes highly recommended from us at The PGM Club. Listen above.