Tag Archive for: Dami Ajayi

Tuesday Poem by Sheikha A.

An-Nur Al-Ain: Nakheelun Jameel

When Medina was being blessed like a land that awaits
respite after being trampled on, people stood like nakheels,

backs confident in their verses of loyalty. Shoulders
prostrated like they were the knees for that hour, palms

joined as if in a meeting of destinies. The first call
of obedience is the Azaan. The order that ensues

is the striking of the sun’s light against waning traces
of darkness. We will sing the Sana’a in the early calm,

like the way the Holy One was greeted, by joyous
feet skipping in their sandals that no longer feel the hot

skin of the sand. A caravan was formed:
nakheels, the dutiful, the shaheed, the haters of drum-rolls;

they place their hips on the ground in the way
of pressing their ears to the sounds of fallacy, the trance

of gushing khamar. And like how jamals walk in rows,
nakheels grow close to their brothers. They gather

seeds at the base of their roots, protecting what is
that shall ultimately sprout as what was. Ancestry is

like a battleground where men on opposing ends
stand in eternal waiting, listening to the tambourine

jingle like the dainty waist of a slave. The silent footsteps
of the man, weaving a crowd of men, his light a force

of the star of heaven, born much before the advent
of earth. Holy One, where you stand, jabals convert

to toors; your call awakens extinguished flames,
and riddles the silence with a gap, long just enough

to not be prolonged, short just enough to be conditioned.
This is probably how we learn shukr: an act of continuance,

an act of a mended tasbeeh, an act of an aging nakheel.
The tamars are plucked, ripe/unripe, they know their growth

is under the direct rays of a teaching sun. My hips
are the rose bearing splinters in its stem. I wait

for the sky to turn into a land of crimson grass; the moment
when walls will mean truce; a Single Breath will handle

us like a process of dispersal; we shall find our ordained
ground; we shall peel the shell of our seed; the soil will part;

we shall line in rows; convert to roots; grow until our fronds
can no longer feed the generations lessons of praise;

that will be then; the time of brown hisaans arriving
at our doors, their rikaabs awaiting our grasp, and their backs

of jewelled saddles calling us to sit on our designated throne.
The call will be sacred. The hand on the other side, nurturing.

Album Review: Show Dem Camp’s Palmwine Music Vol. 1

Show Dem Camp, the rappers, duo of Tec and Ghost, dropped their biggest hit till date, Feel Alright, in 2013. Produced by Ghanaian soundsmith, Juls, Feel Alright was an exceptional throwback song with sensual lyrics and prominent guitar picks. Genre-wise, it was doing something different: straddling sounds and generations, bringing the happy vibe of Palmwine Highlife sound with the insouciant and improvisational nature of hip-hop.

Fast forward to mid-2017 and it is surprising that SDC announced the release date of yet another project, Palmwine Music Vol 1. Their diehard fans haven’t had enough of the VOL 3 of Clone Wars dropped on the last day of last year and yet, new music has been earmarked for the radio waves.

Palmwine Music Vol 1 is an Extended Play album of seven tracks (six songs and one skit)  produced entirely by Spax and featuring  Funbi, AjeButter 2.0, Odunsi The Engine, LadiPoe, Tomi Thomas and BOJ.  BOJ does the hook on two songs, ‘Compose’ and ‘Popping Again’, the only crooner on two songs, perhaps because his chemistry with SDC has been tested and trusted since Feel Alright.

At 23 minutes, Palmwine Music is a sonic teaser, hardly lasting long enough for you to form impression. But, then again, letting music playing undisturbed for the EP’s duration means it must be some ear candy.

Palmwine Music is not entirely a new innovation. It derives a lot of its texture from palmwine highlife, a variant of highlife popular in many West African coastal towns and cities where the guitar leads the music. This kind of music is remarkable for its low to mid-tempo, positive vibes and soothing pleasure. Even Fela, a lover of brass, indulged in some Palmwine Highlife, recorded at about the peak of his career.

SDC’s Palmwine Music borrows from this Palmwine Highlife tendency. It presents itself as a coastal city easy-listening contemporary album. Imagine a sound that tries to be a sponge soaking a megacity’s stress, that lures your attention to details antithetical to stress. These details should go without saying but here is a small inventory: party, booze, beach sand, horizons, coastline, beautiful and full-bodied women and, most importantly, love and lust. SDC’s recipe comprises of catchy hooks, digital sonic production laced with exciting live instrumentation and delightful rap.

The Funbi assisted on ‘Up 2 U’ is reminiscent of Wizkid’s On Top Your Matter and SDC’s Feel Alright. Feel Alright still remains the prototype song for Palmwine Music, so that almost every song on this project is influenced by it.

It is noteworthy that every song features a crooner or two. The duo of Tec and Ghost are perhaps too hardcore to sing Palmwine hooks, hence the album has a more collaborative feel. BOJ delivers on ‘Compose’ and ‘Popping Again’ even if ‘Compose’ is magical for only it Afrobeat ambitions. On ‘She Wants More’, the status quo of evenly matched duo is upset when Ghost drops a quartet of complex rhymes. That this album is made for easy listening doesn’t mean these rappers intended to drop the ball. A serious attitude pervades the entire album and their rhymes might be a tad too heavy for feel-good music. Or perhaps we have been spoilt by Nigerian standards.

It has been seven years plus of meaningful music from the Show Dem Camp duo. Their sound and expressions draws so much from our Lagos realities and even more, gives us our realities back as mastered copies.

There is however the trivial matter of how this sound seems suited for the bourgeois, swanky, upwardly-mobile, well-adjusted, cosmopolitan Nigerian. But, in its defense, sound is not, and cannot, be exclusive; it is free in the air.

You now rocking with SDC…and if you don’t know the response to this call, you may be wrong