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“Ododo” is the new single from saxophonist Shola Emmanuel

“Ododo” is the new single from saxophonist Shola Emmanuel. Translated to mean “flower” the Nigerian-born Emmanuel interprets this exciting feeling into a wide swath of piano, percussion and of course, warm saxophone. The African-jazz fusion is an explosion of colors and flowering emotions. “Ododo” is from the new album Kind of Music, and follows the already-released title track.

A lively piano bed opens the song. Just breezing through is the sultry saxophone, a ray of light and the imagery of a sunrise emerges. Backing vocals are singing “dah, dah, dah” in a lovely pattern. The lyrics are not in English, so it’s hard for me to decipher what is being sung, but the overall vibrancy to “Ododo” is pure gold. Where the song becomes epic is the lush stylings and energy. You move your hips at just the right speed, falling prey to the rhythmic rays. I can easily see this song playing as the sunsets, at an outdoor wedding or event. It’s just one of those songs that fits the minute you start listening. The rhythm takes hold of you and doesn’t let go.

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Percussion wise, I’m guessing they use what’s called a “talking drum”. The hour-glass shape has two drum-heads at opposing sides. The echoing, and often skin-tapping sound is what I imagine the seedling popping out of the soil to sound like. I thought the percussion would be more daunting, but it’s the perfect blend of airy sounds and pulsating beats. The imagery of a flower blossoming and expanding towards the sun is all aglow in the upbeat “Ododo”. You feel light, almost like dancing on a cloud. Having never been to the Garden of Eden-like environment that is West Africa, I can only pretend to blanket myself with the adoring sounds from “Ododo” and place myself in the paradise.

“Ododo” makes it easy for the listener to imagine newer worlds and undiscovered places. The track explores generous amount of cascading piano keys, with Emmanuel’s saxophone serving as a narrator to the grand flower tale. I supposed the first flower that comes to mind is the sunflower. In the scope of things, the sunflower is taller, and so memorable in its colors. I think that “Ododo” sounds larger than life as a whole, but it’s a slow build to that sentiment. A second guess at a flower would be Nigeria’s national flower, Costus Spectabilis. It’s often referred to as a “yellow trumpet.” While “Ododo” doesn’t have a trumpet in its orchestration, the symbolism of yellows, oranges and greens is evident.

World music fans and jazz lovers will find much delight in “Ododo”. The song is a wonderful exploration of sights, sounds and feelings. It just puts you in a great mood and it’s easy to grip the sunshine coming from the piano and saxophone. “Ododo” is a delightful journey that primes the listener for any part of their day. While the morning cup of coffee seems the opportune time, “Ododo” is also the perfect pick me up for the three o’clock brain freeze. It gets you going and moving and keeps you smiling.

John McCall

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