Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Asa’s “Bibanke”: A Narrative Lyrical Analysis

By Gbenga Awomodu

Bibanke, a track from Asa‘s first album, is a dirge for love lost. It is a cliche tale of the natural death that love experiences when one of the two parties in a relationship senses danger signals early on in a relationship, but continues to fall deeper into the abyss, until they suddenly hit rock bottom. Sorrow is inevitable as the obsession grips the narrator from verse one:
I wake up I see you as you leave
I feel it, I see it as you leave
When we kiss I want deep, but you’re far away

Bi (m) ba n ke, b’omi ban san [When I'm crying, if it becomes a flood]
Fi mi si le [Leave me alone]
Bi (m) ba n ke, bo jo ba ro [When I'm crying, if it rains]
Fi mi si le [Leave me alone]

It starts all too sweet and perfect to imagine. Her description of the genesis reveals the trappings of new-found love and perhaps ‘love-at-first’ sight. the butterflies have a ball, but not for too long. Nevertheless, this lover has found strength for careful introspection and tells herself the blunt truth: it was foolhardy of her to have fallen in love with her heart first, and not her head. She reveals more in brilliant poetry:
He used to be my everything
Treated me like I was a queen
What spell did he cast on me?
Or is it a make believe?

You say girl never be afraid
Of ever, ever, loving me
Those words I hung on too
Oh God I was a fool
You became my bad habit
Keeping up appearances, so you could notice
Even when you suddenly picked your things
And left the keys, that’s crazy

As is traditional of Asa, this is another tale well delivered with piano and strings accompaniment, and beautiful percussion which drives the rather playful tone and easygoing tempo.
Bi (m) ba n ke oh oh oh oh [When I'm crying...]
K’o kun basia, fi mi si le ye[even if it fills the basin, leave me alone, please]
Bi (m) ba n ke oh oh oh oh [When I'm crying...]
K’o kun basia, k’okun basia [If it fills the basin, even if it fills the basin]

Mo ti f’oro mi fo lu wa [I have surrendered my issues to God]
K’o so, k’o so wa [May He guard us, may He guard us]
Mo ti s’oro mi fo lu wa [I have told my issues to God]
K’o so, k’o so wa [May He guard us, may He guard us]
Iwo, iwo nikan soso [You, you alone] (Repeat till fade)
She ends the song ad libitum, piano hammers chasing the strings and drums into the quiet distance.
When I’m crying, when I’m dying, just leave me alone
I could you cry a river, or a waterfall
Just leave me alone, leave me alone
Moti f’oro mi f’oluwa… [I have surrendered my issues to God...]

Photo credit: Thierry Huet, Paris __________________________________________________________________________________________________
Gbenga Awomodu is an Editorial Assistant at Bainstone Ltd./BellaNaija.com. When he is not reading or writing, Gbenga is listening to good music or playing the piano. He believes in the inspirational power of words and pictures, which he explores in helping to make the world a better place. He blogs at Gbenga’s Notebook (www.gbengaawomodu.com).