By Yinka Fabowale
Veteran journalist and our revered boss, Mr. Duro Onabule, captures it all. He said while appraising her latest album: “Sola Allyson soothes, educates, convinces, instructs, elevates, moralises, and appreciates. Listen to her music while travelling on our poorly maintained highways. A fitting partner in any downbeat situation. But you must be educated, humble, large-hearted and self-entertainting. An evening concert with Sola Allyson at Muson Centre, Marina, Lagos, will be ideal. Unknown to her, Sola Allyson commands admiration among thousands of all ages.”
Listening to Yoruba song goddess, Sola Allyson’s IMUSE (Fulfilment), one could now probably understand why the songstress agonised at having to offer her latest work free of charge to the music- loving public especially her numerous fans. Allyson had, shortly after leaving the studios last year, announced that God instructed her to freely give copies of the entire stock of the album which ran into several thousands of copies at no cost to people home and abroad!
The Divine order, the singer confessed in series of statements online, she found a bitter pill to swallow, considering the huge sum of money, time and sweat that went into the production.
But she submitted in the end and gladly began the mass distribution of the album, with the jackets marked “Not for sale”.
To Allyson, the gesture is a worthwhile sacrifice of thanksgiving to her Enabler and the Source of her gift, God! And this view finds symbolic expression in the beautiful musical package, which the singer characteristically devotes to evangelism- praising and singing of God’s goodness, greatness, omnipotence, favour, forbearance, love and compassion, with testimonies from His role and transformative impact in her own personal and professional lives!
She gives a remarkable touch of difference to this trademark with the array of new and delightful compositions complemented by a collage of popular choruses in the public domain featured in “Iyin” (track 6) of the 11-tracker.
Although the rest of the songs are vintage Allyson, the lady who, about two decades ago, sang her way to stardom with her debut, Eji-Ewuro, the sound track to Nollywood Diva, Bimbo Oshin’s movie of the same title, particularly proves her mettle as a professionally trained musician in ‘Gbojule’ (the opening track) ‘Olododo’ (track 5) and ‘Ebe’ (track 9) wherein her vocal prowess is on display.
Her genius and versatility are also evident in her eclectic use and blending of modern, classical and African traditional musical instruments to create harmonious rhythms and beats with classical, soul and indigenous flavours.
Allyson’s signature as a Yoruba cultural ambassador is all over the music album. Aside the lyrics which she lavenders with generous dose of traditional lore, idioms and proverbs, the call of heavy percussion and scintillating messages of the talking drums and visceral “Bata” is simply irresistible to the ears and perhaps … the feet.
The icing on the cake is a duet Eji Owuro performs alongside fellow folk singer, Adekunle Gold. Entitled “Alujanjankijan”, this is a bonus track featuring an adapted Yoruba folk song that preaches the need for proper upbringing and education of the child and stressing the implication of parental failure in this respect.
Perhaps for the first time, Allyson openly sings and confesses Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour in this album. In ‘Ebe’, she not only calls Christ by name, but also leaves no one in doubt as to Whom she refers, addressing Him adoringly as “Son of David!” This should probably pacify the singer’s largely Christian fans many of who harangue her for never directly acknowledging the “Lord” in her waxed songs as other gospel singers do.
Allyson has always resisted being pigeon-holed by critics, as she insists her brand is not the conventional gospel music.