SIJI: Home Grown

Siji 1Music, arguably, is an unmediated form of communication, a medium that inspires the art of storytelling in a comprehensive and poetic form.  Its layered but yet simplistic tone extends to connect and elevate, unforgivingly.  It’s where the waves ride rhythmically, where silence and sound finds sanctuary.

SIJI is a British-born Nigerian singer, songwriter, and producer currently based in the U.S.  His music, an organic blend of Soul, Blues, Jazz and Afro/Highlife, draws from his rich cultural heritage combined with the political and social movements of the age that had exposed him to the insurgent, politicized music of the Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti and Juju king, Sunny Ade, as well as the soulful grooves of Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and Otis Redding.  He is known for his collaborate work with Osunlade who produced music for Musiq Soulchild, Eric Benet, and Patti Labelle, as well as his songwriting and production contribution to the likes of Salif Keita and Cesaria Evora.

Not long ago, SIJI launched a short video speaking to the nostalgia that took him back home –Lagos, Nigeria, a storyline that documents the inspiration behind his forthcoming album, Home Grown.  Hence, “home” is where the album was seeded, stirred, and “grown”.  What seems like a contemplative album with a rich cultural flavor, it chronicles his journey, a self-sought passage that retraces his steps back to his homeland.  It can be said that SIJI’s professed story that built the body of his music can be a space claimed and owned by many first-generation immigrants living with a dual outlook and seeking to “connect the dots” with the native.  Though the telling are personal riffs of his experience(s), the overarching theme is relatable to the hybrid.

Siji 3The spirit of the album, as felt in the short video, though an excerpt, is a revealing dip of musical expedition in to the rich rhythmic aspects of his culture, exploration of love and the self, with the streets of Lagos as its milieu.  In the taste of soulful sounds infused with cultural tones, and in between the underlying tension and yearning of a hybrid are the poetic riffs and powerful vocals, sung in English and his mother tongue, Yoruba.  No doubt, underneath all the soul and emotion felt in the sampled songs like the love bounded “This must be love” and an uplifting “Children of the sun”, an anthem like song dedicated to children of Africa or the world, we get a taste of music that makes the heartbeat and the body groove.  A lasting blend of warm vintage vibes and traditional folk music fused with soul, funk, and brass music, leaving you wandering what’s more to come.

Home Grown is slated for release in the season of rebirth –spring (2014).  Keep your ears peeled (here).

SIJI – ‘Home Grown‘ (Official EPK) from SIJI on Vimeo.

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