This project is my exploration of the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe through music. I have chosen songs that I could see comprising a soundtrack for events in the novel. I managed to find lots of Igbo/Nigerian music, some traditional and some modern.
Nkwerre Imenyi Anyi Abiala by Okwuamara Women\’s Dance Group of Umuoforolo, Nkwerre
I imagine this song playing as the story begins, we see the African sunrise, the village is coming to life, the women are beginning to do their chores and make breakfast.
Chukwunna Njieme Onu by Ifediora Mma Egedege Cultural Danca Group of Uga
The fast drumming in this song makes me think that it would be fitting for the wrestling match that happens in Chapter 6. I don’t know if this is anything like the traditional music used for these wrestling matches because I couldn’t find much information on that, but this music seems dramatic enough to fit the scene.
Abortion Special by Emeka Morrocco Meduka and his Minstrels
This is a song about the a debate in the Nigerian Parliament about abortion. I can imagine this song playing as the men take Ikemefune into the jungle to kill him, and Okonkwo decides to do it himself. I chose the song mainly for the sound, I can imagine the men trekking through the jungle with intentions of killing this boy, but I think that maybe parallels could be drawn between the difficult decision for a girl to have an abortion and the decision for Okonkwo to kill this boy who was like a son to him. Just as Okonkwos decision to kill Ikemufune himself was looked down on by the tribe, abortion in Nigeria is illegal and generally looked down upon.
Akwa Leaders of Thought by Emeka Morocco Maduka and his Minstrels
I can imagine this song at the end of Part One, because the slow beat makes it seem like a thinking song to me. Obierika is deep in thought at the end of Part One. His friend Okonkwo has been exiled for accidentally killing someone. He is thinking about the traditions of his tribe that he just does not quite understand, such as throwing away twins in the evil forest.
This is the part of the novel in which missionaries first show up in the village.
Paul Nwokocha – Odum Lje
This song, by a Nigerian Gospel singer, talks about the wickedness of traditional rituals and even mentions the evil forest that is talked about frequently in the novel. The singer is asking God to come and move in Nigeria. I imagine that Nwoye would relate to the message of this song, as he converts to Christianity out of confusion over his own tribes rituals.
We say thank you by Okwara Ezema
This is another Nigerian gospel song. This one is in English. I imagine this song playing as more and more of the tribe members are shown converting to Christianity.
No one know by Asa
I can imagine this song playing after Okonkwo is found dead. It is a song by Nigerian singer Asa. I think that the lyrics speak to the uncertainty and change of life that was ultimately what drove Okonkwo to take his own life, and it also speaks about the pointlessness of war and the uncertainty of what happens after we die. The Lyrics to the song are below:
Just the other day, the other day
I was talking to the weather man
About today oh oh oh
And all,all he could say
Was no one knows tomorrow
See I can read the weather child
I can say maybe the rain will fall
The sun will shine oh oh ohh….
But that’s as far as my story goes
Cos no one knows tomorrow
Oh oh ha…no one knows tomorrow
Tell me what’s the need
To go to war/all the killings
Just to settle some one else’s score o o o
When the victory isn’t even sure
No one knows tomorrow
See, we can study history
and philosophy and Plato’s ideology
oh oh ohh…
But tomorrows still a mystery oh oh ohh
No one know tomorrow Oh oh ha…
no one knows tomorrow
Tomorrow is your opportunity to fail
Or be successful if you please, yes indeed
Tomorrow is a politician’s today
it’s the victim of decision
and the future of our children
So if I die someday,
Will I be in heavenly places ?
Singing halleluiah with an angel
On the piano or will I be
Just another contribution
To the earth, the trees, the grasses
As tomorrow slowly passes
No one know….no one knows
A blog that I found some great Igo music on is called Likembe ( http://likembe.blogspot.com/search/label/%22Igbo%20Blues%22) Check it out for some more great Igbo music.