OGUNNIRAN GIDEON OGIDIOLU’S “FOLAKEMI’ AND THE THEME OF UNREQUITED LOVE
BY BUSAYO OLATUNDE
One cannot underestimate the therapeautical and messianic implications of good music to the soul, the heart, the mind and the human society. It sometimes serves as a healing balm, restates hope, calls one’s attention to the unknown , alludes to history, popular culture, traditional culture, philosophies, and morality. Unlike songs that are empty in content and context; songs that are unnecessarily aestheticized with vulgarities that keep begging the questions of decorum and good reasoning. Many musicians have been able to erect their statues in the hearts of lovers of good music. Fela Anikulapo’s musical activism will continue to be in our intellectual archives. Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Orlando Owoh, Fatai Rolling Dollar, Orlando Julius and King Sunny Ade are musicians whose intellectual products have played the aforestated qualities and intervention in the human world. These are people who are still enjoying superior admiration from both the town and the academia. Some people would like to argue that in Nigeria, that the fall of music can be traced to the period when indecency took over the musical industry, when common sense was no longer common and when creativity and good thinking became once upon a time and are no longer popular among the Youth.While I agree that there may be counter perspectives to these, I also carry the sentiment that these observations cannot be ignored because they are too true to be ignored. Luckily, in this current dispensation, we have people like Beautiful Nubia, Asa, Brymo, Simi, Adekunle Gold and Ogidiolu Afrocentric as empirical metaphors of Super talented inspiring and creative musicians. This is evident in their intellectual products and in the musical genre which their musical talents are situated.Their songs usually sit one’s senses down for epiphanic effects or pleasurable entertainment. This unavoidable essentials that make up the ingredients of good music are all what the spirit of this exercise is about.
The crooner, Ogidiolu Afrocentric has through his latest hit track titled “Folakemi” been able to pull down every conclusive polemics that mirror the current music industry as an industry that is short of creative personnel and one that may not have. His emergence into the music industry has been able to shift these polemics from the center and thereby serves as a messianic impetus. “Folakemi” is an indigenous Yoruba name that means: “Enrich me with wealth” or Honour me with wealth” it can be used interchangeably depending on the context. One unique and surprising thing about the song is the uninterrupted”instrumental obedience, lyrical agreement and metrical conformity that bring out the romantic intentions of the musician. The whole composition relaxs on the universe of orderliness.
To focus on are -the coordinated end rhymes that are perfectly punctuated with semantic unity and the native intelligence of the crooner that successfully duplicates the orality and the traditional ambience of the song. It thus transports us to a typical African traditional setting where love is the colour of the sky. Asides from the skillful use of native simulative expressions in the song, the downpour of endless romantic emotions and compassionate narrative in the song bring to our sense of sight a mental picture of a man who is so much in love with a damsel that keeps turning him down.
” …I have been bringing you flowers but you have not been giving me the answers
and they say beauty is vanity but in your case your beauty is scarcity …”
The entertaining musical ambience of the song overpowers the melancholic depression which should have come along with the unrequited love but the tonality, the falling and rising of the crooner’s voice pitch depict disappointment and hope. This is done to instil in us the spirit of undying love and optimism. The song carries a message that promotes passion, love, doggedness and good communal living. ‘ Folakemi ‘ represents whoever that fails to appreciate any token of love given to him/her; one that should be through sincere reciprocation. It can also be noted that the crooner did not condemn Folakemi for not appreciating the love, instead, he decorates the addressee with beautiful and fashionable indigenous- figurative expressions. This gesture is a silent appeal to those who are easily angered and those who are quick at raining madcap vituperatives on their beloved for not reciprocating the degree of love or affection which they have that such people should be sufficiently patient ,truthful and amiable in whatever they come across in their romantic adventure.
While examining the single, “FOLAKEMI” beyond the text and as a tool for socio-political reconstruction , communal engagement and recurrent betrayal of expectation, it is observed that the context of the song can also be situated in the crooner’s nationality wherein the prize for patriotism and love for one’s country is last minute betrayal, unreturned love, lonesomeness and mental torture. The song also brings to mind Leopard Sedar Senghor’s poem tilted “NAET”
I will pronounce your name
I will declaim you
Your name is sweet like the red cinnamon …”
Here, one can successfully conclude that there is an undisputable similitude and intertextual alignment between Leopard Sedar Senghor’s “Naet” and Ogunniran Ogidiolu’s ” Folakemi”. The aestheticality of the choice of words of the musician makes the song to enhance both perfect visual and auditory appeals. The most interesting is the dominant use of language mixing which in some quarters would be referred to as code-mixing or code- switching. This is what professor Rotimi Taiwo sees as a reduction in space between two languages which often results in language contact which may yield several outcomes such as borrowing, shifting, linguistic interference and code-switching with expert conclusion that languages do not exist in isolation. The predominant language in the song is Yoruba language which is fast becoming the language of love and music. I must confess the song fits in among great songs that are punctuated with overwhelming creativity and great musical stature. You just have to buy and listen to it.!