Falana's Uncover'd concerts come to a rhythmic end

Nigerian singer Falana's pop-up concert series has ended. Now the wait for her album starts and one hopes it won't be long.

Falana playling the cajón. Photo: Falana Music
Falana playling the cajón. Photo: Falana Music

Falana started the fourth and final stop of her pop-up concert series, Falana Uncover'd, on Sunday at Lagos City Hall, with a cover of The Lijadu Sisters' song 'Life's Gone Down Low.' It was a night of tributes and trying out fresh sounds.

The Canadian-born artist wears her influences on her sleeves, mixing the elements that constitute her soul fusion with her positively mutable voice as she moves from soft high-pitched sounds to outright scatting.

On the night, she also sang Nina Simone's 'Feeling Good', along with her cover of Fela Kuti's 'Lady'. Her performance of the latter freed the song from its misogynistic leanings, embracing the freedom and self-definition inherent, but often missed, in Fela's classic.

Most of the songs performed at the concert were new. She asked her audience if they thought those songs were good enough for an album. Of course, they said yes. Her voice, the artistry of her band and her storytelling ensured each song was good enough to tempt the listener to want a second chance at savouring them when her album eventually comes out. 

One such song was 'Falana Gbo Tie,' from a Yoruba phrase that translates as "Falana, mind your business," which is often deployed against detractors. This, along with 'I Will Never Dream in Vain', dedicated to her father, was sung with a passion suggestive of someone who has had to shut down opposing voices, both from within and externally.

Falana spoke of her time in Cuba between songs, of how she was helped out of her depression by a woman who one day sat beside her in a park and promised to be a mother to her. She also spoke of how the experience led to the naming of her EP Things Fall Together. She led the audience in singing 'Risa, Llorar' (Laugh, Cry). She danced, sang, played the guitar, laughed with the audience, pulled off her shoes and played her cajón.

She ended the night with 'Start Again', a song, which in spite of her insistence on not naming a definitive Falana song in an interview with Music in Africa, is emblematic of the lady's style.

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