Sistah Awa – See Dem Fall

By ticku, October 24, 2017

While mucking about on YouTube a few days ago, I came across a fantastic artist named Sistah Awa. However, before I share the song I found, I want to talk a little bit about the company behind the production of the video. The video starts with the logo of Sofar Sounds, which is an acronym for “Songs From A Room”. I’ve actually seen a few videos produced by this company before but only ever noticed the logo, and never knew what it stood for. I found this artist so compelling that I decided to dig a little bit deeper to see if I could learn more about her. It turns out that Sofar Sounds is a music events company that is based upon a very intriguing concept. The idea is to create a very intimate musical experience by having hosts volunteer a room (their own living room, or a cool space like an art gallery or antique shop, etc.) and Sofar Sounds will line up local artists to perform. Music fans can register on the Sofar website to receive notifications for performances in their city, which will give them an opportunity to buy tickets. There are usually two or three artists lined up for each show, and they are kept secret until the show starts. Each artist plays a set of four or five songs, and there is no headliner or opening act so everyone is on equal footing. I’m a big fan of this concept as it not only allows you enjoy a unique live music experience, but it can also be a journey of musical discovery. Chances are you will be exposed to artists or genres you may have never heard of or considered listening to before. This aspect of it really resonates with me because that’s what the original purpose of this blog was, to document my personal journey of musical discovery. Also of note is that since the events are held in private spaces, guests are typically allowed to BYOB, which is a nice bonus. I should also mention that Sofar Sounds has a YouTube channel which has some of it’s best performances, and I have honestly yet to hear something I genuinely dislike, which is impressive. For those of you located in my hometown of Toronto, there is a show scheduled on November 12th in the Bloor and Bathurst area.

So, with that part out of the way, let’s get to the real point of this post, which is a song by Sister Awa called “See Dem Fall”. I had never heard of Sister Awa before seeing this video, but from reading some of the comments on the YouTube video it would seem that she is of Italian-Senegalese descent. While you certainly can’t believe everything you read on the internet, this seems plausible as she clearly is of African descent, combined with the fact that she is speaking Italian in the beginning of the video and it was filmed in Brescia (a city in northern Italy). This unique background gives her patois an interesting lilt. I have been listening to reggae my whole life, so I didn’t have any particular difficulty understanding what she was saying, but I imagine some people might, so I included the lyrics at the end of this post. I only ever post song lyrics when I find them particularly meaningful, and I think the message she is trying to deliver here was worth of the extra 15 minutes or so it took me to type them out. Her performance, in a word, is breathtaking. Her voice trembles with an undeniable passion, yet projects a hidden strength of will and character. Her charisma is infectious, as her guitar player clearly demonstrates while grooving to the song as he plays. Towards the end of the song as she belts out her lyrics, slaps her chest and stomps her feet, you can tell that she is on the verge of just getting up and dancing. This is what you call catching a vibe.

Needless to say, I am now a fan. I see that she actually released an album in 2016, so I will probably give that a listen soon and continue to learn more about this artist. As promised, lyrics are below for those who may have difficult understanding her accent:

Poor people are crying
while the rich is in need of more everyday
many give up, and many get stuck
in a sick system them created

Them need, to tell the truth to the people
We need, to overcome materialism
We need, to stick to cultures and traditions
We need to be thankful and believe

Let I chant, oh god have mercy, yeah
Let I chant against the wicked men, now
Let I chant, oh god have mercy, now, yeah
Let I chant against the wicked men

Children let’s wake up early in the morning
The sun is shining and the land is talking
The sound of silence and the sound of them heart
in every gram, area, part of my Africa

Dem need, to tell the truth to the people
We need, to overcome materialism
We need to stick to cultures and traditions
We need to be thankful and believe

Let I chant, oh god have mercy, now, yeah
Let I chant against the wicked men, yeah ya know!
Let I chant, oh god have mercy, now
Let I chant against the wicked men

Love is the reason of my journey to Jah
Since I met him everything became clear
No matter what them say
cuz Jah Jah is so real
No matter what them say
Jah is always near
Some of them a try to fool life, and them know they can’t
because I see everything through my pineal gland
With Nyabinghi in the morning, I give praise and chant
I’ve been blessed by Selassie I, Jah!

Let I chant, oh god have mercy, yeah, now
Let I chant against the wicked men
Yeah ya know! Yeah ya know!

Let I chant, Let I chant, Let I chant
Let I chant, Let I chant out my anger
Let I chant out my faith, oh gosh, oh lord, can you hear me right now?

Let I chant, Let I chant, Let I chant
Let I chant, Let I chant, Let I
Let I chant, Let I chant, Let I chant
Let I chant out my anger

What do you think?

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