A late review. Apologies for that. I have spent the last three days moving across the city in addition to the excitement of attending my convocation, so my free time has almost been no-existant. Any who, I am here to write about Nneka. And what a great performance it was.
This Nigerian hip-hop soul singer with crazy rad hair, brought a powerful voice to the Biltmore that had the audience swaying and screaming the entire night. Her new album is My Fairy Tales. Although it contains a friendly title, its songs are filled with lyrics about political strife, poverty, corruption and economic disparity as they pertain to the Nigerian diaspora.
Her style has a twinge of reggae and is reminiscent of an Erykah Badu-type of performance. While she is not a talker, she does a good job of engaging the audience at checkpoints throughout the night. Her smooth guitar playing underscores her rustic simplicity very nicely.
At times, it was hard to understand what she was singing about, though that could been due to us Westerners being unfamiliar with her thick accent. It didn’t take from the performance at all however, as the beat and rhythm of the music kept us all tapping our toes and flipping our hair.
One of Nneka’s favourite song’s on the album – and one of mine as well – is Pray For You. I am not a religious person by any means, but this song transcends that. It is about the desire for peace, of letting others know that we are thinking of them – whatever your specific method may be – while at the same time tackling important social issues.
Music is such an important part of any culture. Whenever I see or hear African music, I become that much more aware of that continent’s cultural history. Nneka’s music is rich, the history of tens of thousands of years ingrained in her psyche. Through her lyrical sensibilities, she enables our two colliding worlds to have dialogue about issues that many of us are too scared to face. She makes it okay. Her soul is deep, her voice is strong and her lyrics inspiring. These elements are what creates Nneka’s fairytales. And their damn good