Mama Oyoyo


I love the Peak milk ad. It goes without saying; the average person should love that ad. Even if you didn’t know that the lady with the nightingale voice was Yemi Alade, or that the guy who remixed the childhood poem ‘Who sat and watched my infant head…’ was Iyanya, you’d still love the ad, because it doesn’t rely solely on the popularity of anyone; it carries its own beauty with it. I mean, there’s actual talent at play. You’d want to see it again. And again. And then again. You’d probably want to wiggle to it too.

The love for the ad led me to look for the full video online. I knew that, for something that lovely, there had to be a full video. And I was not wrong.
(Let me digress for a bit and give you some unsolicited information. See ehn, this is how I get my songs. I see a movie, or watch a documentary or hear a great song on the radio in a cab I board, and I hunt it down. I pick the lyrics, a line at least, and search the length and breadth of Google till I find it out. I have a song by Oliver Mtukudzi of Zimbabwe because I stumbled upon a 1993 movie with his soundtrack three years ago. Don’t judge. It’s human nature. in MJ’s voice)

Aha, so where were we? Peak milk ad. Now, if you listen to the original song, you’d realize it actually wasn’t made exclusively for the brand. It was just a song for mothers, and the video, directed by AJE, told really beautiful stories of exceptional mothers. Even if you had a heart made of concrete, this video would go through it in some way. Well, unless you’re just a sadist. Like Professor Snape.

I’m a sucker for all-star things. It’s why ‘We are the world’ is still one of my all-time favorites. For ‘Mama Oyoyo’, I think each artiste held their own. Let’s start from the top.

Iyanya. I know Yemi started the one in the ad, but Iyanya started the full one, and basically manned it as he sang the bridge and chorus all through. I have a love-hate relationship with Iyanya. He’s gradually working his way to my heart though, with the brilliance in his compositions. I mean, virtually every Iyanya song is a hit. His performance in ‘Mama Oyoyo’ is proof that this dude has it. You just gotta love ‘my osikapa jollof o’. Sweet sweet something.

Next is Yemi Alade, Mama Africa. Apart from her voice and deftness in music, Yemi has a personality to match. She makes it so easy to like her. Hers was one of the best solos in Mama Oyoyo. ‘Na you be my best friend, na you be my sister, na you be my pastor and you are still my Mama…’ I love that we actually know what she’s saying. A tuale and a half for the lady.

Tekno shone like the sun. His solo was, for me, the best. This young man who calls himself Alhaji has been consistent since he came into limelight a few years back. The beauty of the Hausa he adds to his solo wins you over, even when you have not the slightest idea what he is going on about. I love the line he uses ‘Your love is beautiful from Maitama to Mpape.’, not because it makes all the sense in the world, but because its ingenious and it rhymes with Wa-ke. Hehe… Abuja people can relate.

Olamide comes in next with the most disappointing solo of the lot. Oh, and the shortest one too. Olamide, who is known for his Midas touch features on any song, seems to be losing his rap edge as he seems to do more singing these days. The fuji part of his solo makes no sense to me, despite my knowing Yoruba well. ‘..momo mi jiya lori mi, iyen mo selomo.’ This means his mother has labored over him so he has a child. I don’t get the connect. At all. But I’ll stop now before his loyal fans unleash hell on my blog. Hia!

Selebobo comes in nicely with his Igbo. Then he loses you with his ‘na you dey teach me to good o, you no dey teach me to bad o’. It would seem like our dreadlocks-rocking singer ran out of lyrics. It’s a good thing he got us right back with the Igbo yet again, and crowns it with my most emotional line of the song: ‘Your little bobo don turn to a man o’, which happens to coincide with the moment in the video when Ushbebe hugs his mother. That moment, right there, is where I want to run to my mother thousands of kilometers away, and give her a hug, and tell her her little girl is now a woman, and will be turning twenty-five in a few days. It is at that moment the tears threaten to fall. Selebobo has won my heart.

So there. Our guys rocked. Best solo award goes to Tekno. Fellow who touched me the most award goes to Selebobo. Fellow with the most work on that song award goes to Iyanya. Fellow with the most swag award goes to Yemi Alade, even though Tekno comes dangerously close. Olamide goes home with a pat on the back. Better luck next time, buddie.

I look forward to more songs with sense from our artistes. We are tired of pulsating booties, booze and inflated egos laced with gibberish. Sing sense. Do something your kids would be proud of.