Jara | Featured Artiste: Solomon Lange

When I was younger (and even now, I still get asked the same question), people asked me what it felt like to be a twin (Hiss! Like I can really put words to it).  My answer is usually something like this: it is fun to have a "partner-in-crime,"  someone who shares the same interests and has gone through the same / similar challenges.  If you didn't know any better, you would probably think I was referring to a spouse, ba? LOL! Anyway, one of the things I miss about Nigeria is having mallams, market women (and men), etc give you extra of whatever you came to buy from them.  E.g. If I came to buy 3 apples, if they knew me and my sister were 'ejima' or 'ibeji' (a.k.a 'twins') they would give us 1 or 2 extra for free.  That extra is of course, commonly referred to as "Jara."

Fast forward a few years later to life here in America.  What can I say?  The concept of Jara is foreign to these foreigners ... LOL! But of course, you can see how it wouldn't work here.  I can't walk into Wal-Mart and expect them to give me an extra apple without paying for it.  That would be shop-lifting.  The thing though is before we even get to the concept of giving us extra, the question is: do they know we are twins (and frankly do they (you) give a ..... *cough, cough*)?  Assuming they give a hoot, would you believe that white people are usually clueless as to whether we are twins?  They just stare, stare and stare (we are NOT identical, by the way).  But astonishingly and with an amazing degree of accuracy, black people AND other ethnic minorities (e.g. Hispanics, Asians) just KNOW we are twins.  They don't even give room for any other possibility.  I just find this interesting every time it happens.

And now, a few lines from my childhood twin chronicles (Sorry, my tired brain couldn't figure out what else to call it).
In primary school, our classmates were convinced that twins had a special 'scorpion' or 'spider' (or some creature sha) which they could command to harm any one who had offended the twins in question.  I (and my sister) did not know just how potent and powerful this belief was until one day like that.  There was one of our classmates who we were not too fond of [Okay, we didn't like the girl jo! There. I said it] And the girl quarreled with us (or vice-versa *innocent-y face*).  My sister and I snapped our fingers in that "I-go show-you-pepper" manner and vowed that "our head would catch her."  (If you say it in Yoruba, it'll make more sense, I promise).

Of course we didn't have any secret powers or any of that crap.  In retaliation, the girl talk say she go report us to her mama.  The next day, would you believe that this girl fell ill and couldn't come to school for a while? *gasp of horror* Yup! She did.  I think she came back some days later to beg us, believing that our spider or scorpion or 'Lord-knows-what-other-strange-creature' was the source of her affliction.  Needless to say, the gist quickly spread around the school and she (and others) did not mess with us again.  Even as I type this, it seems so so childish, but in the mind of a child, superstitions become even more animated. Ha, nkan nbe! So, what supersitious 'twin-related' beliefs have you heard before? Please share :-)

Featured Artiste: Solomon Lange

Solomon Lange is today's featured artiste and his song "Na gode" is a song of thanksgiving, which is written and rendered completely in Hausa (I believe).

Solomon Lange / FaceBook
I came across the first version of "Na gode" (which I will refer to as the original version for the purpose of this post) on YouTube in 2011 or thereabout.  Recently, I discovered that Solomon had released another version of the song (an "updated version" if I might add) along with another music video.  I think it is only fair to share BOTH videos and consequently, both versions of the song with you.  However, I am basing my review, for the most part, on the original version.  The newer, more recent video will doubtless be more visually appealing to people due to its enhanced quality.  So here is Na gode:

Original (1st) Version of Na Gode:

Newer, Updated (2nd) Version of Na Gode:


The Good:  The song is completely in Hausa and from the little Hausa I sabi, Na gode means 'Thank you.'  The rest of the lyrics are lost on me, except for "Sujada ne nake, Godiya ne nake." I saw these lyrics in the video. I'm not a Hausa pro or anything, unfortunately, so I cannot tell you what else he is saying, but Solomon sings with passion.  Plus, he is not alone.  One of the ladies who provide the background vocals for this song is featured in the video.  I had to mention this bit because MOST of the Hausa gospel songs I have come across have had exclusive male background vocals! In fact, I thought it was some kind of rule I was not aware of, but Solomon has helped to correct that misconception here.  

The instrumentation is partly what lends authenticity to this song.  The flutes and other traditional instruments can be heard in this song and it just makes sense that they would be paired with the language in this way.  I like how the beats change towards the end because it moves the song from just being one dimensional to being more beat-laden and colorful. Solomon's adlibs also carry the song along beautifully and in fact it is in the adlibs that he shows us that he "owns" this song.  In other words, regardless of who wrote the song, Solomon makes this song his own and he takes advantage of the adlibs to make this clear.

The Bad:  With songs like this, I struggle with finding the balance between understanding the meaning of the lyrics (they're in Hausa, I believe) by using subtitles AND the need to enjoy the song in its original form.  In this case, I'm actually glad the subtitles were omitted.  But for some other folks who would have appreciated a translation, it is a minus.  That's why I put this aspect of the song under "The Bad."  It could go either way.  Another thing was that Solomon was straining in some parts of the verses (sounded like there was something in the back of his throat), but that smoothness in his voice covered up for it in the parts of the verses and chorus that he repeated.

The newer version sounds more serious and frankly, more boring than the original version.  That is mostly because the background vocals are significantly muted and subdued in the updated version.  The background vocals are also restricted to only a few parts of the song, leaving us to hear Solomon sing the same verses over and over again.  Regardless of which version you prefer, Nagode is such a cool song, that picking sides is not an issue here :-)

Finally, some more information on Solomon:

Artiste's Stage Name:  Solomon Lange

Artiste's Real Name: Solomon Lange

Connect with Solomon:  Facebook 

Have a great weekend!

Yay to twins! I had no idea. It's amazing that even Asians can tell that you guys are twins.
lmao @the twin chronicles. I can so imagine the snapping of ringers and "ori mi a mu e" hehehe
So i hear when 1 is in pain/distress, the other can feel it even when they aren't together

LOL....I loved reading this. hmmmmm i still believe twins posses some kind of power o! my mum is a twin and she told us stories of how she will have injuries on a particular spot and her brother will have the same injury on that same spot a day or days later. My friend says her brothers (twins) once made it impossible for dinner to get served on time because they were denied the luxury of playing outside with friends that day...the food kept on cooking but didnt get done till they were begged! imagine that!!!


Loooollll at your story. It must have really been something.
I really want to have twins o, but identical sha. I dont know how thats gonna be possible, since neither my fiancee nor I come from a twin related family

LMAO... I am certain you enjoyed the fact that people were scared of you. I don't have any twins drama believes,  but what is the deal with the beans stuff? Ewa Ibeji.... heard of it?

I soo want to have twins when i get married. I've been saying I will have twins someday. An identical boy and girl. My mom has  twin sisters, so there's twins in my family. Your school mates must  have been really scared of you guys oo. 


LOL... @ the twin story. I'v actually been to alot of programes were Solomon Lange performed, and I think he does much better on stage than in a studio.... He has that  commanding voice thing... really strong 
nice post.       

Ochanya Igah

I tell you, Toin, they KNOW! Yes, even Asians.  Just about every other ethnicity but caucasians.  I don't know what scientific or social theory can explain this.  Ah, you penned down the Yoruba version, I see.  If I had a penny for every time I heard "ori mi a mu e" ....

I have heard about that pain/distress story too, and I believe it is true for some twins.  I haven't experienced it before though (thankfully).

Your mum is a twin? Who knew?! Is she the older or younger twin? 

The first story you shared about having injuries on the same spot is scary o! I mean, how do you explain that away? These things defy logical explanation.  The second story is just baffling! Lord, have mercy! I would hate to offend those boys.  It makes my "spider-scorpion-creature" story look like child's play.  

Yes, it was something o, especially for us at that age.  As for your desire to have twins, omo, there is nothing God cannot do o.  God is full of surprises and the twin trend can start with your own children.  May God grant you your heart's desires according to His will in Jesus name.  AMIN!

But of course, 9jaFoodie! I most definitely enjoyed it well well.  It kept those bullies away.  And now for the ewa ibeji stuff (courtesy of info from my mum):

Apparently, in Yoruba culture, twins are considered to be deities (rolls eyes) and so to 'worship' or 'appease' them, they give them 'Ewa Ibeji' and sometimes 'Epo Pupa' (Palm oil).  The Ewa Ibeji I know of is the Black Beans that my family uses to make "FreJon."  I attached a picture  for your convenience ... and because I wanted to play with Disqus :=)

I hope the info helped. 

***Picture from: http://globalkitchenmob.blogspot.com/

Che, like I told Atilola, there is nothing too hard for God and I pray He grants your heart's desires according to His will in Jesus name. I wonder what it was like for your mum to have twin sisters. I also have twins in my family (2 of my 3 brothers are twins too).  As for our school mates, don't worry about them.  They must have recovered by now *chuckles*

Ochanya, thanks so much for sharing what you did on Solomon Lange.  It's always good to get feedback from someone who has seen one of the featured artistes perform live.  I can only evaluate his musical abilities based on videos, so the feedback you provided is very helpful.  

And thanks for the compliments too.  Please visit often :-)

Hi dear, how are you doing? I looove the new blog design.

barbara onianwah

Barbara: I am fine o jare.  Thanks for asking.  How are you?  Thanks for the compliments o!

I swear I commented on this post...but since you deleted it, I am just going to say..you are a twin, hmm, I have to get with Ofili so we can gather all our clues and fish you out. Also, the next time I come back here...which is tomorrow, you berra have a new post, you are 6 days over due and you better not make it an habit. 

*chewing fingernails in fear and laughing nervously* Emmm, what if I don't have a post up by then, am I gonna get whooped? LOL! Thankee for the wake up call.  Truth is I have a lot to say and am a bit overwhelmed with the work load.  But I'll put up a post soonest.  

Meanwhile, I didn't see your original comment o.  I checked and checked for it.  Maybe Disqus ate it up (belching commences) .... Thanks for the heads up though and for leaving another one *grinning*

6 days overdue? Ah you miss so much you're ticking it off on your calendar? Don't even deny it.  As for you and Ofili fishing me out, be my guest ... Or should I say "OUR" guest *laughing wickedly*

The "1st" version is actually the "2nd" version. It just so happens that he had a video for it before the video for the original version came out (over a year later). The one you refer to as the 2nd version is indeed the original version, and the one you prefer is the remix. I actually also prefer the remix, it's richer instrumentally, so I guess we're on the same page on that one :). Just so you know, the new video had about 30 seconds from the original audio cut off. You might wanna get your hands on the original audio and see if you might wanna change your mind an prefer this version instead.


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