Evergreen ‘Iyogogo’ By Onyeka Onwenu

Evergreen ‘Iyogogo’ By Onyeka Onwenu

An evergreen song is one which when released, met with the popular approval and appreciation, thereafter becoming a measuring standard for songs in the same genre. Iyogogo by Onyeka Onwenu easily holds such qualities.

From the ‘One Love’ album, released by Ayollo Records/Polygram Records in 1986, Iyogogo plays for exactly four minutes and thirty-one seconds, and is sung in English and Igbo. The song tells the love story of a woman, presumably Onwenu, and her lover at a point in their relationship where he must decide if he would stay with her or not.

It begins with an intro of groovy sounds and beats, with the electric guitar, keyboard and drum set. Onyeka Onwenu expresses deep feelings of loss on the emotional absence of her lover: “Iyele, iyele, iyele… well am missing you, missing you, missing you, you know I am. Said am missing you, missing you, missing you, oh my.”


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Are you gonna leave me or are you gonna stay? Are you gonna make me so sad or so happy? Now am missing you. No, it’s not what we had before.” She issues her lover an ultimatum, demanding a quick decision to stay with her or go away as his mind and heart were no longer with her, though he is physically present.

“Iyele, iyele, iyele…one minute you’re so happy, the next minute you’re so sad” she sings, describing her lover’s attitude, characterised by unpredictable mood swings. She again pleads with him, as his indecision was inconveniencing and destabilizing for her. “You don’t know whether to stay or run away so I don’t see you again. But please, please, please, make up your mind, so I know where I am.”

A short interlude follows with a guitar solo, after which he reassures her, “Onyeka, ihe di nma na diri” meaning Onyeka, good things lasts.

Iyogogo iyogo, iyogogo, iyogogo iyogo, iyogogo. K’anyi je na nke bishopu na 5 akuola. Ihe na ewe m iwe bu na efe m akorako. Nwa m bu n’afo na enwe anuli o” Onwenu sings –Let’s go to the bishop’s house, it’s 5 O’clock. I am angry because my clothes did not dry; the child I am carrying in my womb is leaping for joy. Here, it is revealed Onweka is pregnant with child and that the couple had planned to go to the bishop’s house that day at five o’clock to get married but the bride is angry because the clothes she wants to wear are still wet.

She directs the ultimate question at her lover: “Do you love me?” She asks, “Do I look for you too, why you don’t stay?” to emphasise how much she will miss him if he decides to go. She makes a last ditch effort: Stay! Now I am missing you. Stay!!!”

Onyeka Onwenu, born in May 17, 1952 and now 64, is an internationally recognised singer, songwriter and actress. Also known as the elegant stallion, she stands out as the only musician to have crossed pop with juju music and highlife, seamlessly combining English and local languages to deliver songs of great social value. Once a reporter at the Nigerian Television Authority, Onyeka Onwenu is also a politician and has served as the chairperson of the Imo State Council for Arts and Culture. She is presently the chief executive director of the National Centre for Women Development. In 2003, in recognition of her contributions to music and culture administration, the Federal Government of Nigeria honoured her with the national award of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR).

Surely, Onyeka Onwenu is an icon for elegance and excellence, and Iyogogo is sure to remain evergreen in the hearts of music lovers all over the world.

Adekemi Faturoti is an avid lover of art. She has a peculiar interest in music and fashion. Faturoti is presently in her penultimate year studying law at the University of Lagos and has an appreciable knowledge of intellectual property, particularly patent and copyright. Adekemi Faturoti aims to be a renowned writer.

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