This is definitely a labor of love for Sola Akingbola, who makes his living working as a percussionist for the successful Jamiroquai. It takes him all the way back to his Yoruba Nigerian roots, and he presents these songs in a wonderfully stripped-down style, just drums, percussion, and voices (although with a much cleaner recording than you’d find in the field. Apart from being a stunning player with a profound knowledge of his culture, he’s also a very convincing singer, as he ably demonstrates on “Aro Orunmila,” where he’s responsible for all the instruments and voices. Studio technology gives him the chance to create some atmosphere, but it’s remarkable just how much melody he can draw from percussion instruments (on most tracks he’s helped by others). There’s definite soul in the performances, and if you listen closely, remarkable layers of sprung polyrhythms that build to create a thick fabric under the voices. It’s an excellent piece of work, whether on something brief like “Ojo To Wa Ninu Ose” or the more lengthy “Ori Ni Kan.” In-depth notes give a full background and context to each track, too.
Listening to this album 3rd time through now... and discovering new elements and nuances every time. There are whole musical phrases within the drumming. There is great variety: each piece is different, with different sets of drums, etc. The music really ‘speaks’ - as Solá Akingbolá says: the drums imitate the Yoruba language. (Judging from that, the Yoruba language must be very melodious.)Such a fantastic and captivating album!But it is not only the music that is excellent: There is a short biography of Solá Akingbolá (15ish years percussionist with Jamiroquai) and then there is info about each of the pieces and lastly the drums are explained (plus a lot of photos). In addition to the listening pleasure of the CD, the booklet provides a glimpse into Yoruba philosophy and spirituality.With all that, this album has given me more than I had expected (great music): I actually feel uplifted; I feel that I’ve learned something worthwhile. - This album has really made my day!