Muyiwa and Riversongz – Eko Ile Album
“Eko Ile” is the 2015 release from Muyiwa and Riversongz and is something brilliantly different in it’s approach and scope. Recorded mainly in Ghana there is an incredible authenticity to the styles that are presented here.
The album starts off with “Gbalan, Gbalan” which looks at our response to things around us. Based off the passage of 1 Corinthians 13 v 1 which talks about needing love, otherwise our Spiritual gifts are like an empty ringing bell.
This track is finished off with some spoken word from Muyiwa and this is something that is consistent throughout the album. “Freedom” takes it’s inspiration from John 8 v 36 and considers how Christ has set us free.
“Freedom” features plucked guitars, piano and more spoken word as initially Muyiwa quotes the verse before it is repeated in an almost choral style. Clocking in at just over 7 minutes this is quite a long track and features a bit more exposition on the nature of freedom. It’s a distinctive track that will appeal to some, but it’s one that I would probably skip on future listens. Much more on-song is the reggae style “Raindrops” which looks at how people see you.
They may see you as a failure, bankrupt or worse, but when the singer sees himself he see’s his assurance of salvation. This song has a great feel moving along to a traditional reggae beat and the depth of the vocals makes this a rich track.
There are so many changes of style on this album, each one feeling distinctive that you are never quite sure what is going to happen next. Things aren’t just in English, as well as brushes with different African cultures through the musical style there are also elements of language too such as “Jambo” which is a Swahili greeting.
The second half of the album seems to be more replete with these references. “You Are Good” gives a brilliant idea of the goodness of God in our lives and his kindness even in the dark moments we can still cry out to God because of His goodness.
“Modimo” refers to God in the Sotho language and this track mixes that language with English in song and the spoken word reminding the listener of confidence in Christ. This is another track that is over 7 minutes long but is a great experience which will be a blessing to you, because it contains one as part of the track!
The title track of the album “Eko Ile” (literally Lagos Home) is about culture, colour, race and how all this matters to a young guy growing up, not just with the UK culture clash but even with kids slightly lighter in skin tone than him. This taught him to dislike his heritage but over time he has come to identify with his culture and his faith. This song is the story and culmination of this.