Reviewer: Yamilenu Bamgboye Genre: Spoken Word Poetry Release Date: February 21, 2018 For the very first time in years, I see myself shuttling between two worlds that are explicitly dominated by different personalities and from my little knowledge of religion, I can’t be mistaken to say spiritual activities shape the ones we see happen in our own physical world. The concept of spirituality is such that transcends religious and cultural boundaries. It’s a broad term for many perspectives including a connection to something bigger than ourselves. It’s not uncommon to hear people like King Sunny Ade in his song Mo Ti Mo, Segun Adisa of the one time Labe Orun television programme and others pay homage to certain celestial powers that rule in the high places (Ephesians 6:12). They do this basically to seek permission or accord them the reverence they so deserve for venturing into certain concepts that have strong connection to spiritual elements, personalities, forces and or activities. In one of my poems, The Goons, I describe these personalities as: …gender generic Ethereal motherhood; Dreaded stingy bees; Scorpions with revered venoms; Terrestrial bodies set on the threshold of liberty, of will. And their activities as thus: They ravish with terrestrial weaponry Annihilating colours of the rainbow, The tracery of hankering To form a faint ark in the distance... I believe it is with this understanding that Gemini decides to whet the appetite of his listeners with an analogy that explains why he needs to pay homage to this ethereal motherhood before and after he has begun his commentary. As simple as this may sound, only few people dare venture into such hence, he chooses not to ignore the supposed repercussion by trudging that path just to lay bare the ‘true’ nature of women. No wonder he calls it Ipado: the dangers of walking in an unsafe zone!!!! Apart from the language being one hundred percent Yoruba and the concept being ‘Intriguingly’ cultural, its commentary on the personality of women constitutes a subtle attack that’s covered in panegyric to reveal the quanta of powers women possess. These powers ranging from deceitfulness to cunningness which he considers supernatural really make the menfolk defeasible. Regardless of all this, can the world really be in order without women?Hell no! Therefore, he is of the opinion that women continually remain the necessary evil every man must have: OBINRIN OBIRI AYE O ROMO NILE GBOKO PON. O ROMO NILE FOKO LOMU. BI WON BA MO NI KEKERE OGBON INU WON LE PE IGBA BI WON BA MO LAROBO WON A JABE WON A DA BI KANHUN BI WON BA N BE NI MOJESIN WON WON A MAA JA GERE BI TORI EPO PUPA. BI WON BA N BE NINU ILE GBOGBO ETO INU ILE A GUN REGE A I SI NILEE WON OHUN GBOGBO A DARU GUDUGUDU. The effect of his baritone on onomatopoeic phrases like Agbigbo, eleye igbo, akumamoojudi, jantirere, Akoogba, igunnugun, Langbodo, Abalabolo, Girigiri Ekun, Ogalanta, Opake, olake and repetitive phrases like Oke-odede oke odede, ajigini arigini, ariginigini, Samu Samu, segesege, etc. really invokes the kind of scary mode a vampire or a violent movie is capable of invoking. But this thing with Gemini and oriki, guy, can you just tell us what’s up with that? It’s understandable that you’ve recognised the presence of those on the high table but will the self-love (oriki) you shower on yourself also appease their wrath?
Author: Yusuf Balogun Gemini Reviewer: Yamilenu Bamgboye Genre: Spoken word Release Date: February 14, 2018 ***************************** Click to download the audio ******************************* In an article published in The Guardian Newspaper on Saturday April 5, 2009 by Alloysius Nduka Duru titled Waist Bead among the Yoruba, it’s documented that ‘The Yorubas have developed the most varying and peculiar uses for the waist beads...that cuts across both material and spiritual aspects of the life of the people.… They also have the capacity to produce the beads for varying purposes ranging from royalty, body adornment, deification and decoration’. Ileke is the general name for all types of beads in Yoruba but the ones designed to be worn on the waists are called lagidigba. Lagidigba is made of big, thick and massive palm nut shells strung together and it usually includes bebe--- a pebble-like attachment at the centre. The etymology of the word ‘lagidigba’ dates back to ancient times when maidens and wives adorned their waists with it. While some did for chastity and its erotic appeal or power to provoke strong emotional desires or response from the menfolk, others did to control conception, ward off Abiku and prevent spiritual attacks. As a writer who isn’t oblivious of the abrasion of our local languages and Yoruba in particular among youth his age, one thing Gemini does is to deliberately explore the intricacies of the (Yoruba) culture with accurate application of proverbs, idioms, ancient tales and rhymes. The antecedent of this passion which began a long time ago with heavy importations and code-mixing between Yoruba and English in some of his poems like Eba-Odan, Abobaku, Magun, Totem, Moremi and Ori (apologies that the Yoruba words don’t have diacritics, I’m still practising my craft on unicodes) has prompted, from the nerves, a gargantuan tremor of a full-blown Yoruba poetry!!!! Lagidigba, as the title portends, is a romantic poem that reveals the most intense and truest profession of the love Alabi, the poet persona feels for Abebi, a maiden in his village. These emotions reach the peak when he discovers that his fancy seems to have been captured by her alluring beauty and the eroticism of the lagidigba that adorns her waist. He becomes too overwhelmed that his thoughts burst open into chants--- on sighting her from a distance--- with rather unconscious prayers of good character that match-up to the extreme outward beauty of his beloved so that what he feels for her will not evaporate like the vapour of a hot soup. This singular act asserts reality in a way--- the reality of men wishing to pitch tents with ladies that seem to have it all: beauty and good manners. And being a potential lover of this black beauty, he doesn’t just delight so much in wooing her (Abebi) or using edifying words to describe how beautifully and wonderfully God (Eledumare) has made her or how he will never trade her for anything in this world, he also takes ‘extreme’ pride in calling himself her husband and relishes in self love with oriki: Emi n’Alabi oko Abeeebi Omo o kan ilekun ko ni ile ja Ajo u yo koko le nu Emi l’omo aje le ti ko je ki to de pani Awa ni iku lodo Omo a to ku je un Omo a taaa ye so ro Oku ta gbe de oja ti o ta L’omo araye da so fun to pe l’egun Ogogo omo ba ku l’oyo o le jo Ba ku loko ni n daa pon Omo oku eko ijo lo akara Apart from the romance we see between the characters: Alabi and Abebi, we also see romance extend to a display of ‘Negritudinal’ features which exhume the deepest attachments Gemini has for his roots by using verisimilitude to draw comparisons between nature, abstract ideas and events of years past to lift the imaginations of his listeners and shape their perception about the richness of Yoruba culture. As defined by one of its champions, Leopold Sedar Senghor, in an article that was first published in 1973, titled The Concept of Negritude in the Poetry of Leopold Sedar Senghor, by Sylvia Washington Ba, Negritude is ‘the sum of the cultural values of the black world as they are expressed in the life, the institutions, and the works of black men’: Abeebi, Iwo omo pe ko si iyi f’aja ti o le yin B’o sin ba ja, oun a si di opa Iwo o n se o ni jogbo bi ti panshaga, Abi o gbo pe oni jogbo ni n sin ilu, ilu o sin onijogbo Won ni ka to ri erin o di gbo Ka to ri afon, o d’odon Emi wa ti ri Abeebi, emi mo tun wa re gbo Lojo t’opo ye ni ile jogbo, Gbogbo aye n de be lo ki won Ikele ni kan lo ku ti o lo ki won Ikele ojo na l’Abebi Ewo osa, aso pupa ibo ku de sa re, Ewo osa, mundia ati wo re poli Ko ro so soke, ko wewu so ri Oun re gboyan ki ri Ojo na l’esu gbe lo yan lo fi sa ya. And being a master at his craft, he uses hypophora to lessen the burden sheer rhetorical questions would have placed on his listeners by providing answers to his own questions: anaphora, refrain (repetition), contractions and different tone marks (sorry if you don’t see them) like ‘…ijakan ijakan...’, ‘Ewo osa...’, ‘Ibaadi aran yo lo ke re o gun rege...’, ‘Alabebi ife ayomi janto...’, ‘b’abata se kere kere dodo, B’omi lo t’ao r’ese omi, b’okunkun t’ao r’ese okunkun...’and ‘Jankulobo’ to achieve special effects just like it’s done in English. He also employs the language of persuasion heightened by enjambment, blank verse and metaphorical expressions to sustain his muse: ‘Ikele ojo na l’Abebi...’ ‘Iwo la sin to araba tin be larin orofo Afinju eye tin je ngbangba bi oba...’ ‘Iwo o n se o ni jogbo bi ti panshaga...’ Most times, when poets themselves are characters in their own poems, they maintain a pattern of identity which their readers flow along with but here in Lagidigba, Gemini chooses to add a twist to his by switching from his ficticious name-- Alabi-- to his real name--- Yusuf Balogun Gemini and gives it so much coloration that leads his listeners to his hometown, his genealogy and one cannot but wonder if it all begins and ends with his place of birth: B’oba ni tani n soro, Emi l’omo olalomi, Emi iyero okin omo lofa mo so Ab’isu j’oruko, ijakadi l’oloun t’ofa IJakan ijakan ti won ja lofa lojosi Osoju gboro ninu oko Osujo ebe oun ala Iba soju oloko iba la won Emi lomo lanre bu re Ikan ogbodo ju kan Bi kan ba ju kan ni le olofa mojo Ogun ni n da si’le baba won Ofa ooo, aye’le Ofa Iye ro okin omo abi lofa ni’le Olalomi Olalomi omo abi l’Ofa ni lu alomo Dunku dunku se re geru geru loriki alomo Ofa ooo, aiye’le Ofa Bi mo ba w’aye ni’gba egbeje, Mba wa ni’gba egbefa, Olalomi baba mi ni o tun mi bi Iyero okin baba mi ni o tun mi bi Emi ni Yusuf omo Balogun t’oun pe ni Gemini You definitely will agree with me at this juncture that the in-depth understanding of one’s style and the unconscious, I mean unconscious application of the techniques that make poetry really enjoyable conjugate, most times, the bespoke of a writer. Of a truth, one can boldly say that Gemini, in his nature, usually casts a spell of beautiful words on his audience to demystify the complexities of compression by extensively using the imagery of relative instances to appeal to emotions and project thought-provoking ideas into his audience thereby swaying their attention from the beginning to the end. Click to download the audio ********************** Below is the transcription ************** Ibaadi aran yo lo ke re o gun rege Kori inu egbin ko ma ba to de je Edumare jo’ jogun iwa fun Ibaadi aran yo lo ke re o gun rege Alabebi ife ayomi janto Alabebi ife ayo mi gun re ge Kori inu re o ma ma ba to de je Ko le ri nu bi sun bi wa le Alabebi ife ayomi janto Abebi mi owon Okin ni o omo lo ja eye M o wo gbo titi ko si eye bi okin Eledua oba lo da labalaba wi pe ko ma fododo se bugbe O hun Eledua lo to ri enu se eso owo Ohun Eledua lo fi ikarahun se ile igbin Be igbin mi o ni rajo la yi mu ikarahun e lowo Ase da o ma ma se o To gbon omi ife owuro si inu koko bi yinyin Abeeebi, Ako aja lo la, abo ara ni ile osupa Aya bi ileke, aya bi’de Ori re ni n daa de owo, Orun re ni n se gida ileke Aya eni o se di be be re ka fi ileke si di aya elomiran Emi n’Alabi oko Abeeebi Omo o kan ilekun ko ni ile ja Ajo u yo koko le nu Emi l’omo aje le ti ko je ki to de pani Awa ni iku lodo Omo a to ku je un Omo a taaa ye so ro Oku ta gbe de oja ti o ta L’omo araye da so fun to pe l’egun Ogogo omo ba ku l’oyo o le jo Ba ku loko ni n daa pon Omo oku eko ijo lo akara Abeebi, Eye po lo ko ka to f’okin joba Sebi’ka la’fo’ka si, a si ma fi lagidigba si bebedi Bo mo alakowe ba’fo’ka s’owo, Emi asi ku ba Abeebi to fi ileke si bebe lo. Ileke Abeebi lowo mi kan leni n wa re le oba Iwo la sin to araba tin be larin orofo Afinju eye tin je ngbangba bi oba B’o ti e l’owo eyo no bi ti panshaga, To si ni ara alaranbara bi ti panshaga, Mo se bi kokoro alate ti re to un tate ni Abeebi, Iwo omo pe ko si iyi f’aja ti o le yin B’o sin ba ja, oun a si di opa Iwo o n se o ni jogbo bi ti panshaga, Abi o gbo pe oni jogbo ni n sin ilu, ilu o sin onijogbo Won ni ka to ri erin o di gbo Ka to ri afon, o d’odon Emi wa ti ri Abeebi, emi mo tun wa re gbo Lojo t’opo ye ni ile jogbo, Gbogbo aye n de be lo ki won Ikele ni kan lo ku ti o lo ki won Ikele ojo na l’Abebi Ewo osa, aso pupa ibo ku de sa re, Ewo osa, mundia ati wo re poli Ko ro so soke, ko wewu so ri Oun re gboyan ki ri Ojo na l’esu gbe lo yan lo fi sa ya. Abeebi, Agogo ni baba re, gboro ki f’omo re b’ikete Bi na ba se were gun le, b’abata se kere kere dodo B’omi lo t’ao r’ese omi, b’okunkun t’ao r’ese okunkun Bin b’ati ri Abeebi me, abu se bu se K’ni iyi obirin to le wa ti o ni wa? K’ni iyi aja ti o lerigi? K’i ni iyi koko to ti run ni’sale? Se bi eja ki bi nu omi ko rin ni’le? Akerengbe ogbodo b’inu oguro Iran igbin o le gba gbe ikarahun Iran oni sango o je gba gbe bata Emi Alabi o je gba gbe Abebi. Sun mo mi, ka we ninu agbalagbalubu ife B’ariwa o gbodo se bo, ipako ogbo suti B’o hun elewon ko si mi agabja Egungun ti wa fe jo, alaso t’wa fe woran Ojo esin fe ro, eja awo eni ti o ka wo mori gbeyin Jankulubo ileke ja t’owu t’owu Jankulubo... B’oba ni tani n soro, Emi l’omo olalomi, Emi iyero okin omo lofa mo so Ab’isu j’oruko, ijakadi l’oloun t’ofa IJakan ijakan ti won ja lofa lojosi Osoju gboro ninu oko Osujo ebe oun ala Iba soju oloko iba la won Emi lomo lanre bu re Ikan ogbodo ju kan Bi kan ba ju kan ni le olofa mojo Ogun ni n da si’le baba won Ofa ooo, aye’le Ofa Iye ro okin omo abi lofa ni’le Olalomi Olalomi omo abi l’Ofa ni lu alomo Dunku dunku se re geru geru loriki alomo Ofa ooo, aiye’le Ofa Mba wa ni’gba egbefa, Olalomi baba mi ni o tun mi bi Iyero okin baba mi ni o tun mi bi Emi ni Yusuf omo Balogun t’oun pe ni Gemini