Eko Ile – Out 30th October!
Translating to ‘Lagos my home’ which harks to a Nigerian folk song of the same name, Muyiwa channels a myriad of African music styles via gospel. Written alongside Kwame Yeboah (Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Ms. Dynamite) and Eddie Martin (Whitney Houston, Neyo, Chris Brown) and produced by the former, the album is a journey from east to west of the continent, stopping off at highlife reminiscent of fellow countryman Fela Kuti, refreshed takes on traditional African praise, and African reggae. It makes sense then, that the album was predominantly recorded in Ghana, that it frequently features Muyiwa’s native Nigerian tongue of Yoruba and that it’s peppered with Swahili, Zulu, and Pidgin English.
The ode to Africa sidesteps the tried and tested formula of ‘all-big, all-bright’ gospel and instead takes the listener on an emotional journey of highs and lows that’s God-inspired, but everyone can relate to. Muyiwa’s songs and spoken-word stories recount his search for freedom, identity and hints at his own loss. Nigeria – and Africa as a whole – is painted as a land of civil wars, corruption and crime and more personally, it’s the country of his father’s unfortunate assassination and his mother’s untimely death six years later. Despite this, his faith overrides them with themes of hope, gratitude, solidarity and colourful celebration. It’s the African way.