Eneida Marta: Ibra

In Perfect Balance

Listening Post 254. Many elements go into Eneida Marta’s songs, but her voice carries such an elegant sense of balance that everything seems like one thing: Music that links traditional sounds of her country, Guinea-Bissau, with contemporary styles; messages that marry regret and hope; an artist’s life inseparable from a larger sense of mission. Whether her words float like waves lapping tranquil African beaches or dance lightly to pulsing rhythms, she keeps all the pieces in harmony. Born into a musical family, Marta followed a crooked road to her own career. Like many of her countrymen she spent years in Portugal before returning home; motherhood ended her dream of becoming a police officer and she ultimately pursued her backup plan—singing. Her songs seem at least partly born of experience, sharpening the radiance of her fifth album and highlighting what makes her the voice of her nation. On Ibra, Marta explores—in Guinea-Bissau Creole—struggle and joy, greed and sharing, fleeting love, family intimacy and outsider loneliness. And as she sings, she advances the cause that underlines her music: Making a difference for children. She has served as a UNICEF ambassador and campaigned against child marriage; here she addresses absent fathers in Homis Di Gossi (Today’s Men), an aching but pointed cry to dads who brag about their offspring but play no role in raising them (video 1). She converses with God in the magnificent Alma na Fala (Soul in My Speech, video 2) and examines the profane in Dur Di Kutubel (Sour Grapes, video 3). Colônia (Colony, video 4) describes the impact of exiled family and friends. Sadly, Marta produced her latest work without her career-long friend and colleague, the kora virtuoso Ibrahim Galissa, who died just as she began recording. So she gave the album his name, to fill the void, and restore a sense of balance. (Ocarina-ALG Eventos)

Eneida Marta: Ibra
Eneida Marta: Vocals
Ze Manél Fortes: Vocals
Gogui, Athnase Koudou: Bass guitar
Eliseu Forna, Manecas Costa, Athanase Koudou, Tony Dudu: Guitar
Ricardo Gordo: Portuguese guitar
Athanase Koudou, Laurent Noa: Piano
Pé Gudo: Percurssão: Drums
Davide Zecaria: Cello
Fernando Carlos (N ́du): Drums

Guest artists:
Ze Manél, Missy Bitty

 

Homis de gossis / Today’s Men
Lyrics & Music: Eric Daro
The song talks about men who father children but do not care for them. They like to brag about their children on Facebook or Instagram but do nothing to help out when it comes to raising of supporting them.

 

Alma na fala / Soul in My Speech
Lyrics & Music: Karyna Gomes

(from the Guinea-Bissau Creole lyrics)
I give you my soul through my words/
I put my life into your hands
My God/I am your daughter
I give you my soul through my words/I put my dreams into your hands
My God/I am your daughter
I give my life into your hands/I give my children into your hands
My grandchildren into your hands/I am your daughter
I give my life into your hands/I give my children into your hands
My grandchildren into your hands/I am your daughter 

Woman/Woman
Woman/Woman

A woman with her secrets/Woman with her pain
Woman, I am/A woman with her secrets
Woman with her pain/Woman, I am 

I give you my soul through my speech/I put my dreams into your hands
My God I am a daughter/My God I am your daughter

Woman (…)

 

Dur Di Kutubel / Sour Grapes
Lyrics & Music: Umaro Can Djanlo

If you tickle me, I’ll laugh, we will leave it as a joke/Teeth don’t have blood, we will leave it as a joke
Your best friend in this world can become your worst enemy sometimes/When he turns his back to you, all your secrets come out
If you’re a liar, if you’re a thief, if you’re a witch or wizard/Everyone will know 

Jealousy/Jealousy
Jealousy
Greed is not good
Jealousy, Jealousy
Jealousy
Greed is not good 

They can have a big heart, but it’s like that sometimes/On a table, we put our hands together
You pour for me, I pour for you/You put your hands over my eyes

Jealousy/Jealousy
Jealousy
Greed is not good
Jealousy/Jealousy
Jealousy
Greed is not good

My heart is not a mat for you to sit on, to cause suffering
My heart is not a mat for you to sit on, to cause suffering

 

Colônia / Colony
Lyrics & Music: Aliu Bari

Where is Sara Kumbasa, in the colony/Where is Seidou, Seidou Indjai, in the colony
Where is Idy Djalo, in the colony/Where is Jon Farim, the man is in the colony
Where is Johnny? With his brother in the colony 

Uncle Malam, tell them not to cry/Uncle Malam, tell them to have patience
One day we have to return to Bissau/The day, the day that hasn’t arrived yet

The day, the day that hasn’t arrived yet
The day, the day that hasn’t arrived yet

Our brother of Bissau don’t forget us/If you think that we have died
We haven’t died yet, we are here in the colony/We haven’t died yet, we are here in the colony
One day we have to return to Bissau 

The day, the day that hasn’t arrived yet
The day, the day that hasn’t arrived yet

Uncle Malam tell them not to cryUncle Malam tell them to have patience
One day we have to return to Bissau/The day, the day that hasn’t arrived

The day, the day that hasn’t arrived (…)

 

 


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