Toks Ilorin

Musician • Teacher • Promoter of African Music

On the Release of My New Album: Africa Dry Riverbed

The songs on this cd are sung in Temne and Yoruba, two West African languages, as well as Krio a widely used patois in that region, and English. The first song Mojama is named after an eight year old girl who is bright and very clever. Will she get a chance to go to secondary school or college? Will she be able to help her family as she grows up?
Every day she goes to fetch water from the public water pump. She lines up with the many other children and grownups that have to wait for long periods in the burning sun, for their turn to get some water. Water is a basic necessity and a valuable commodity where she lives, and sometimes there is no water. She walks a long way to school and back and sometimes there is no food at home, so she has to go without, just like many other children. Everyone she knows looks forward to a better way of life, but hers is not a passive acceptance of things as they are. 

At such a tender age mojama knows about her heroes “Ya asantewa, Okonfo Anokye and Bai Bureh" --  and others who struggled against injustice and cruelty in their time. The words of one verse say in the Temne language “Amants mogbilieh paineh kabi, mayi tuk lasser abi , mayi tuk lasser abi ka ma moh tas, moh tas, moh ta-as,” which translates as ”water cannot jump a hole, it must fill the hole first before it can pass.” 

In the song Gimme Water the powers that be, say, “We're sorry to announce the price of grain is high! high! high! high! high!. . . We hope for some improvement in the next fiscal year, and in the meantime we have some short term proposals. We also have a message from the G8 summit” 

All these songs are inspired by the sun, the beautiful land and the amazing people who have an undying spirit. People who have the strength to continue in what is an everyday struggle, and who have more than their share of faith and hope. The haves and the have-nots share the same land but the haves do not see the have-nots. There is no one to hear the cries of the downtrodden, but there must be a way to put everything right. 

Some people have very little but you will always see them sharing what they have. They have a heart that remains true in spite of their own troubles. There are many wonders in this land.