June 11, 2009

Apala harmony

"His continued success depended on a number of star qualities. As a singer, he had the ability to create thought-provoking lyrics about issues, places, real life situations and even the philosophy of life where he was comfortably at home with the use of parables and anecdotes. He consistently projected the virtues of life and living through these channels without soaring to unnecessary praise singing and abuse which later became the order of the day.

Knowing that Apala music, like every other typical African music form is characterised by repetitive rhythm and percussion, he was able to introduce the element of variety to his style through the creation on the spur of the moment, of myriads of choruses which derived inspiration from situational social events as they unfolded themselves. They added extra artistic substance and colour to social commentaries that were rehearsed and pre-meditated.

Besides rhythm which forms the bedrock of Apala music, Haruna realised the essence of a well-blended group-vocal harmony treatment. And so he always had in the band an abundance of percussion while they doubled proficiently on vocals to provide the necessary call and response pattern of music. For this purpose, he had perhaps the best crop of singers at any point in time."
I am quoting Benson Idonije in an article about the late Apala king Haruna Ishola. You can read the full article here.

As to the "well-blended group-vocal harmony treatment" there are some great examples of this on any of his records, but perhaps slightly more so on this one. The chorus seems a little more pronounced than on other records. I am being cautious, because in my experience the perception of Haruna Ishola's music keeps changing. I can listen to a record that I have had for years, and suddenly discover completely new elements. And songs that have seemed to last forever before can pass in minutes the next time.

By the way, the titles of the tracks of this lp seem to be missing in the discography. Although you can find the titles in the tags, I will repeat them here:
a. Egbe Omojaiyejaiye, Shagamu / Yiyo Ekun Tojo Ko
b. Ire Ni Temi / Kosi Ohun To Ye Ode Biko Perin Wale / Nigeria Ejeki A Dupe Lowo Olodumare / Operation Feed The Nation


Edit: as before, Cheeku has dug up some additional material, in this case -from ebay- a copy of the front sleeve (well, at least part of it...). ¡Gracias!


Anonymous said...

As always, enormormous thanks for my favourite african artist.

yotte said...

Many Many thanks! I just stumbled on your site and LOVE it. So much music I've never heard would never have found otherwise. These Haruna Ishola albums (what I've heard so far, anyway) are FANTASTIC.