My faithful Nokia phone must still be wondering why Asa’s Beautiful Imperfection album is still on repeat, three weeks after I uploaded them from an Original CD. (Yes o, O-R-I-G-I-N-A-L). Since penultimate Wednesday when I wrote about “Bamidele”, my favourite song, more than a few people have asked that I do something similar for “Bimpe”, another Yoruba rendition on the album.
Bimpe is an upbeat song, one of the numerous songs on the album that make you want to dance, shoulder-high, and snap your fingers on the street. A playful, yet serious number, it is an indirect warning to a sister-in-law who meddles just too much in her elder brother’s wife’s matters. It brings to the fore, the intricacies and dynamics of the role played by in-laws in the life of a young wife in the Yoruba culture. Also highlighted is the complexity of the human nature; how people seem to be overtly interested in what you do with your life when they hardly have theirs in check. Here goes:
Bimpe n ba mi wi (Bimpe confronts me)
O f’owo si’nu business mi (she meddles in my affairs)
Emi ire ko l’egbe/ o kan s’aju mi bimo ni (we’re not mates, you only gave birth before me)
Mo gbo n’pe on mo mi loju (I hear you eye me with disdain)
O l’anu gboa ni’pa business mi (You talk recklessly about me)
Oro emi ire ko l’eni (Our fight’s not for today)
Egbon re n fe mi ni (I consider that your elder brother’s my husband)
The narrator is presumably a young wife who is subjected to embarrassment by her in-laws, especially, Bimpe, her sister-in-law (her husband’s younger sibling) who meddles in the young wife’s affairs. Young Wife complains, but in the Yoruba culture, you ought to respect your siblings-in-law and refer to them like they were much older than you, even if you are a decade older. Young Wife gets wind that Bimpe’s talking recklessly about her private matters, but she does not confront the suspect openly. The reason? She’s married to Bimpe’s brother!
Egbon re t’on fe mi lowo ni o (It’s just because I’m currently your in-law)
Mo ti ya fun ooo/ egbon re, egbon re ha! (I respect him – your brother; your brother ha!)
E ba mi so fun baby yen/ fun baby yen (Help me tell that babe, that babe)
T’o wole yen (that just entered the room)
E ba n kilo fun/ e kilo fun, yeah (Help me warn her, warn her…)
E ba mi so fun sisi yen (Help me tell that lady)
fun sisi yen to kun atike (whose face is painted her face with talcum)
E ba n kilo fun/ e kilo fun, ye (Help me warn her/ warn her)
Soft electric piano sound rises to underscore the feeling of endearment and sentiment as Young Wife recalls that she is married to Bimpe’s elder brother. But the bitterness continues to grow as the narrator refers to her ‘tormentor’ in the ‘third person’ – a rather distant and somewhat disregarding way to address your relatives. She taps into the power of description to emphasize some of Bimpe’s idiosyncrasies, like ‘plastering’ her face with talcum. In fact, this hints, albeit in a subtle way, that Bimpe is more-or-less lacking in education, exposure, fashion and lifestyle.
Bimpe ri mi fin (Bimpe is disrespecting me)
O wu wa omo lai si imoye (she behaved without understanding)
Mo ronu p’iwa da / omo inu mi l’on ba mi wi (I rethink, ‘cos it’s someone much younger that’s chiding me)
Ile ana more l’Oyo/ won kunkun je m sinmi… (When I even visited my in-laws in Oyo State, they never even let me rest)
Ire o l’aponle/ o de fe ki eyan fe e sile (You’re not worth the respect, but you want someone to marry you into his home?)
She ups the ante here, still fussing over Bimpe’s disrespect, insisting that the accused lacks understanding. She tries to overlook the offense because she deems herself much older, but still recounts how her in-laws did not let her rest but torment her the last time she visited them in their home town in Oyo State. “(Bimpe), you are not worthy of respect and lack dignity, but you want some man to marry you into his home?” Perhaps Bimpe is even a single mother, estranged from her husband… Asa sings the chorus all over again and gives in to a synthesized interlude which helps dissipate some pent-up anger. The music is loud and defiant, making an angry statement. Then she runs through the final round of lamentation with the soothing electric piano (EP) sound leading her in…
Egbon re ton fe mi lowo ni o (it’s your brother who’s my husband)
Mo ti ya fun ooo/ egbon re, egbon re ha! (I respect him- your brother, your brother… ha!)
E ba mi so fun baby yen/ fun baby yen/ t’o wole yen (Help me tell that babe, that babe that just entered)
E ba n kilo fun/ e kilo fun, yeah… (Help me warn her, warn her…)
E ba mi so fun baby yen/ to gb’omo pon (Help me tell that lady with a baby straddled to her back)
T’o kun atike/ e ba n kilo fun/ e soro fun, yeah (talcum on her face, help me warn her, tell her!)
E bami so fun baby yen ko fo s’oke/ k’o fi mi’le (Help me tell that lady to jump up, and let me be)
Tio ba wo k’o la’ri mo’le (If she doesn’t like, she should split her own head on the floor)
E ba mi kilo fun/ ekilo fun (Help me warn her, warn her!)
E ba mi so fun baby yen k’o fo s’oke (Help me tell that lady to jump up)
K’o fi mi’le, k’o rin lo Offa (She should leave me alone, or trek all the way to Offa)
E ba n ki’lo fun, e s’oro fun (Help me warn her, talk to her!)
Young Wife’s infuriation makes her say a lot more bitter things as she ends up asking Bimpe to take a long walk all the way to Offa town (Kwara State). Asa took me in on this one too, and kudos as she ends this energetic rendition by lacing the synthesizer with Young Wife’s anger. Bimpe, where are you!!!!!!!!!!!??????
Photo credit: (c) youri lenquette
Gbenga Awomodu is an Editorial Assistant at Bainstone Ltd./BellaNaija.com. When he is not reading or writing, Gbenga is listening to good music or playing the piano. He believes in the inspirational power of words and pictures, which he explores in helping to make the world a better place. He blogs at Gbenga’s Notebook (www.gbengaawomodu.com).