Our love is hot for Tiwa Savage

The music video for Tiwa Savage's "Ife wa Gbona" is as engrossing as the song. With its blend of pop, juju and highlife It bring up warm feelings in the listener.

A still from the video for 'Ife Wa Gbona' by Tiwa Savage featuring Leo Wonder.

Love is a theme used so regularly in many Nigerian pop songs. Many of them sound alike in the ears, and I’ve learnt not to expect too much. Yet, listening to and watching Tiwa Savage’s music video “Ife Wa Gbona” (translates: “Our love is hot”) has kept me murmuring: indeed love is a good thing. This song is a good reason to fall in love or want to.

Watch the video first.

From the opening scene where a car drives towards a house and a family is outside to receive a prospective groom and the surprise, cheers and hugs. Next: we see the groom sitting next to his bride-to-be in a room filled with relatives. Wedding preparation is being made. It is a convivial environment. The warmth is infectious even from watching the beginning of something good about to happen.

Then: Tiwa enters a room bearing a gift, and she is introduced, by a man we can assume to be her father, to a relative as “the little cousin” with “the best voice in town.” The surprise at how much she has grown, gives way to the couple offering her to sing at their engagement later that day. All this time, at the background, the song is playing under the conversations–and I’m still savouring the big difference in the setting from her other video when a final warning sounds from her father: “do not disgrace us.”

And does she disgrace?—Well, I have the song on repeat! (At last count—earlier today—the video has been seen by about 100,000 viewers on YouTube’s iRocking channel.)

The narrative of the video is as engrossing as the song, which blends pop with juju and highlife. It does well to bring up the warm feelings to the listener’s heart. Just as the title, this song is indeed hot: intense and bold. It is a reminder of many good things–mutual love, good wine, family, gathering warm feelings that rise to the throat.

The guitar that carries the song brings good memories of the twang in Victor Uwaifo’s Guitar Boy. And of course I have a feeling that it will the preferred wedding song at traditional weddings in Nigeria, as was Tosin Martin’s Olomi, Tuface African Queen, Sola Allyson’s Eji Owuro and not to forget Sunny Neji’s Oruka.

The scenes capture symbolic objects that translate affection: from play-acting lovers (Tiwa and featured artist Leo Wonder) crooning sweet-nothings to themselves in a coconut groove, camera pans to capture a hibiscus flower which blends with the choice of costumes–the buba and Iro Tiwa is wearing and the tye-dye of Leo Wonder, and when it translates to her sitting in front of a mirror, mulling over this “hot love” between herself and a lover. Her father dragging her off from loverboy and her unwillingness, all bring freshness to the narrative. The role-playing is all well put together. I also love the way her name—Tiwa—which translates to “our own” becomes a refrain for Leo Wonder. In it, I can capture the intent of innocence and natural love and desire.

Well, do I have to celebrate the agreeable tinge in Tiwa Savage’s voice, which retains that soothing feel, as this song offers her, an even better show of it. “Ife Wa Gbona” is apart, and it sets a different agenda for Tiwa Savage’s other singles like Love me 3x or Omo Ga.

Further Reading

Whose democracy?

In Israel, tens of thousands have demonstrated against the new right-wing government’s plans for judicial reform. But what of the Palestinian question? In this episode of the podcast, we discuss.