It’s like music that was made in the ‘90s but by someone living in the present. It’s a subtle balance between nostalgic folk and contemporary rap. It’s music that prioritizes emotion and mood. And it’s a message that has long trailed his artistry. Irawo, the latest offering from Afro-fusion maestro Oyedele, is a quintessential piece of art, ripe with potential and thriving in its niche.
Produced by Tosin Amire, the 6-tracker record flashes with a heartfelt storytelling detailing human experiences, from love, to survival, and life itself. From the opening track, “Tales by Moonlight”, to the closing track “Faramo”, the EP feels like a journey through the eyes of the observant Oyedele.
Tapping other soul-focused mavericks such as Tilewa, Eniola Adewale, Joel Prodigee, and Kido, the EP rings through as a rich buffet of musicality, brimming with delicate chops of Afrobeat in “Da’gboru”, slices of deep soul and Jazz in “Toyin Tomato” and “Felt”, and “Tales by Moonlight”, while having standout recipes for Jazz-hop fusions in “Faramo” and a melancholic lullaby-esque spoken word in “Father Father, Reprise”. The Igbo-choral backup in “Father Father, Reprise” is also a rubber stamp of his musical wits and rarity.
While the sonic composition of Irawo soars with a mesh of novelty and nostalgia, the harmonization pairs perfectly on both sides giving it some much-needed boost for replay value. Featuring an impressive lineup of features including the Deltan chanteuse Kido whose voice on “Felt” feels like the 2000s queen of soul Ego Iheanacho of Lagbaja’s “Never Far Away”, the record is rife with musical quality, and is a solid penetration into the libraries of alternative music across Africa.
“Irawo in Yoruba means star; the bedrock of creation. And on this record, I reached for sounds deep into the 1970s to reimagine. The music is playful yet grounded,” Oyedele comments on his creative inspiration.Oyedele
Irawo is Oyedele’s musical advancement – and an exposure into the depths of Afro-fusion, as the Akure-native blends Yoruba, Pidgin, and even snippets of Igbo language, to create a cathartic sonic capsule that serves as a mood-lifter, preaching love and pontificating about life.
Irawo is out across all music streaming services.
Listen to Irawo here.