EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Stream Ibibio Sound Machine’s debut on Soundway Records
We’re delighted to be hosting the debut album from the cherished Soundway Records’s latest signing, Ibibio Sound Machine, before its release on March 17. The London-based group is fronted by British/Nigerian vocalist Eno Williams, forming a meeting of joyous disco, signature West African highlife, and soulful psych jams to form a contemporary whole. In its blurring of boundaries, employing Ghanian guitarist Alfred ‘Kari’ Bannerman, Brazilian percussionist Anselmo Netto and Tony Hayden and Scott Bayliss on synth and horns, the sound is as representative of London’s cultural amalgam as of any one specific sound.
Thematically, the album presents a range of folk tales from Eno’s childhood, drawing on her mother’s South-Eastern Nigerian Ibibio heritage, all of which Eno has outlined in her track-by-track breakdown, presented below. Check it out alongside the stream of this truly idiosyncratic album.
Track By Track:
Voice of The Bird (Uyio Inuen)
‘This song talks about the sweet voice of a bird and is inspired by the cock crowing, which was the standard alarm growing up in the countryside. It reminds me of how similar every countryside in every part of the world is – like the sound of the bell clanging every time an hour passes.’
I’m Running (Nya Fehe)
‘This is a song about coming into your own, from the path of uncertainty to a certain assurance about the natural progression of life. This was often associated with counsel given to a child in terms of crawling first before trying to walk. My Grandmother often said this a lot, saying you might try to run but let God guide you as you do so.’
The Talking Fish (Asem Usem Iyak)
‘This is a folk tale that was told to me by elders on moonlit nights while in the countryside as a child.’
Let’s Dance (Yak Inek Unek)
‘This is a story of a girl who is being deprived her right of passage but she defies the odds and dances her way with her friends, regardless of her past. It’s just the pure joy of dance.’
Uwa The Peacock (Eki Ko Inuen Uwa)
‘This is a story about a peacock called Uwa, I love the way it sits with Alfred’s Highlife guitar. The peacock journeys to a far away land and the other animals try to make it conform to their own ways. Every time he gets angry and displays his beautiful feathers they tell him to put them away so he can be like everyone else. But Uwa soon got frustrated and in the end couldn’t care less – I guess we are sometimes like the peacock!’
The Tortoise (Nsaha Edem Ikit)
‘This is a folktale about morals, the cunning nature of the tortoise in the story seems to sometimes transfer itself into our own existence with people or society. It is particularly told to children to teach the values of honesty and good nature.’
Woman Of Substance (Awuwan Itiaba)
‘This is a term given to a powerful woman. I would describe the women in my family as such, never allowing any obstacles or set backs get in their way. Despite failures, falls or mishaps, they get back up on their feet, dust off and start afresh.’
Prodigal Son (Aken Ake Feheke)
‘This is the story of the Prodigal son – one of the first stories I heard in church as a child. It describes a child’s need for independence from his father. It teaches that regardless of how we live a parent’s love is always available to us. It’s really all about God’s love and forgiveness, which is always there if we accept it…’
I’ve Got To Move, I’ve Got to Get out.
‘This is a song about wanting something better, life is about always moving on to the next thing – the idea of not being comfortable in one spot, always striving to be better than I was yesterday – a gentle nudge and reminder to keep on moving.’