THE BEAUTY OF TENI’S UYO MEYO
Very few times every year, something refreshing comes out of the Nigerian music industry; sometimes, not more than two or three times in a whole year. Over the years, songs made with worthwhile messages at the back of the mind of the artiste are increasingly becoming rare, as a result of the diminishing quest for depth by singers, and the audience at large.
I first saw the trailer for Teni’s song, Uyọ meyọ on a friend’s whatsApp status, and of course, I had no idea what it was about, since it was in a language I only have a very basic understanding of. I didn’t really suspect it was going to be a song with an interesting message for me, or maybe something I might want to listen to — this was so, even though the song had an air of storytelling to it which is something I love in a song. This was until I heard, two days after, a friend, who is a custodian of the latest good music from the musical industry playing this same song. It was then that I proceeded to download it from Boomplay.
It didn’t turn out to be a song about storytelling. It turned out to be an inspirational music which drove its music so in a soulful way with the natural depth, typical of the Yoruba language. I played the song from MusicMatch which afforded me access to the full lyrics and what they meant.
The song begins with an uplifting undertone:
kajo kajo kajo (let’s rejoice)
kayọ kayọ kayọ (let’s dance)
Uyọ meyọ leun o san o kan mi ọ le. (because I am happy for others, I will rejoice).
And with this beginning, the song uplifts one’s spirit in readiness for the reception of the inspirational message which it relays philosophically in the undertone of the Yoruba language.
Uyọ meyọ is basically a motivational song which talks about striving for great heights and to be sincere, there is nothing that the song tells us that we haven’t heard before. And yet, the song still remains special, not because we are familiar with what it tells us, but because it tells us something we have heard in a way we have not heard it, with a fusion of fuji and Yoruba highlife music. When we writers talk about storytelling, there is this thing we say about there being no new stories, because all stories have been told. In this case, what a new artist or storyteller strives to do is to tell the story or pass the message in a way which it has never been told before; to strive to reach out to a previously untouched emotional depth in the audience. This is what makes an old story new again. It is also part of the reasons some of our grandparents could tell us one story over and over again without us getting tired, because they told those stories in magical ways. This is what Teni has managed to do to us with her song, Uyọ Meyọ.
The music is both soulful and truthful. It carries an in depth passion with an unspoken but evident intent to pass that message or at least stir that feeling in the heart of the listener. The latter perhaps carries more weight because I have seen a number of my friends on social media come out to say how they have had the song on repeat even though they did not know the meaning. This makes another point of the fact that good music, sometimes transcends the boundary of language which sometimes limits the beauty of stories.
And so we find that this artiste has created for us, something unique to keep abreast, a message we young people should always be conscious of. Not just that. She has given us a gift of a song to uplift our spirits as we walk out of a year which has been for us, one of mixed feelings, and walk into one which we expect to make good use of the inspiration her song has given us.