Nigeria>>>France with a voice-box

By: Khutso Tsikane

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A musical career that was born in France and an identity that stems from Nigeria?Asa, pronounced as Asha is a Nigerian singer who was born in Paris but grew up in Lagos. Her singing found its perfect balance between a young woman with a social voice and a richly fused cultural identity.

Asa is a singer and songwriter, whose self-titled debut album is an eclectic mix between Marvin Gaye, Erykah Badu, D?Angelo and the likes. Her music style is a fusion of soul, pop, funk and has strong jazzy undertones. The fusion reflects her mixed cultural identity from Lagos to Paris.

The singer-songwriter with a husky voice has a lot to say- socially and politically. The album has a strong social commentary. The world famous introductory track ?jailer? has a deep rooted irony as it comments on the irony of oppression that exists in everyday life. Other songs such as Fire on the mountain ask ?who is responsible for what we teach our children, is it the internet or the stars on television?? The tone is already set for a woman who is intellectually inclined and brave enough to let her opinions be heard while gracing us with the presence of soft drums, guitar and a smooth trumpet.

Asa sings her songs in both English and Yoruba. Her husky voice is accompanied with an impeccable percussion, a reggae infused bass and a funky Hammond organ, the whole album is intellectually stimulating?well the parts you can understand. It makes you appreciate a foreign language, it makes you want to learn Yoruba because you want to know what she is telling her fellow Nigerians and you gain more respect for her that she has the confidence to combine both languages which could possibly limit or insanely double her listenership.

The album is definitely a reflection of her state of mind and self-awareness. She is not too far off from being the modern Bob Marley. She received the French New Talent award in 2008 for this album and reached platinum sales in France and to top it off her show sold out Olympus in Paris.

To fully enjoy Asa?s album you need to be armed with good speakers, a glass of red wine and a good book, preferably watching the sunset?or not but either way, this is feel good music for those with a rich appreciation for contemporaries like Lauryn Hill, Erykah badu and Raphael Saadiq.

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