Ariwo Oja album by Crown Troupe of Africa
             At Dream Arts & Design Agency, we are proud to present a remarkable music collection titled Ariwo Oja- the debut album of The Crown Troupe of Africa, led by Segun Adefila.

The versatile and energetic dance theatre company has taken the same ethos they have fed into theatre productions for over a decade and spun it into what is now being identified by a new coinage in music categorization- Culture Pop as offered by Femi Morgan at a production meeting while the album was being birthed.

Crown Troupe is known to take its influences from contemporary realities, especially as dictated by the day to day hopes, dreams, aspirations, disappointments and conflicts engaged with in our urban existence. These realities provide a template for addressing the nuances, foibles and excesses of those in authority and the citizenry at large with evocative ‘street speak’ that finds its roots in our rich cultural expressions and heritage.

In grafting their virtuoso art to the medium of music, Crown Troupe gets the job done with panache. The 13-track album is an impressive compilation that combines a sampling of lots of musical genres like jazz, reggae, afro-beat, juju, hip-hop, and rap with profound indigenous musical expressions and instrumentation, delivering messages of wisdom, caution, and some play on satire, referencing bad governance, irresponsible behaviour, social and environmental decadence, and so on. The album features a robust line-up of star acts including Yinka Davies, Koffi, Adunni and Nefertiti, Aduke, amongst others.

Read the review below by David Motutu for an overview of what Ariwo Oja has to offer.
Click here to listen to a sample track off the album.
(The track 'Mi O Ni Choice' was part of the soundtrack on the Mainframe Productions movie- Arugba, by Tunde Kelani).

Crown Troupe starts off the 13 track album by introducing their musical intent with the self-titled track, Crown Troupe, that kicks off by blending a simple reggae tune embedded flute and background strings and the opening voice intertwined with prevailing hip-hop instrumental. The rap verses are delivered by Adefila himself, conveying humor and playfulness in colloquial Yoruba language mixed with English and street slangs which reminds one of the likes of Lord of Ajasa and Olamide, except that it’s tapered down with the traditional intent to pass across moral lessons that none-the-less makes it a lot more interesting to enjoy. The chorus croons “Ewo Crown Troupe… ah, Ori Ade awon elere fe sere” repeatedly, which in English means that the Crown Troupe is here and, of course, have come to deliver their performance, and their presence should license all and sundry to join in the fun.


The second track titled Ere Ti Ya literally lives up to his name: it’s time to play. And it has a more traditional infusion of juju music mixed with afro hip-hop production. The chorus is delivered with the ease of spirited youths calling on friends and listeners to come join in in playing with them. When jusxtaposed against the contemporary dexterity expected of a vocalist to sing in flourishes,  this approach rather bears an open naturalness akin with African folk songs sang on sandy beaches, while the rap verses by Adefila and his co artistes draw the song a little closer to our present time on  streets in neighbourhoods  like, say, Bariga or Lagos Island.

 As track3  slides in, it only gets better as Mi O Ni Choice initially creeps in with an intro that demonstrates the sharp contrast between traditional ewi chant sang by a guy and the modern American style of singing rendered by a lady but flavouredwith licks and trills of seasoned African-American stylized singing. An elderly man’s voice disapproves of the latter and praises the former, expressing his joy for those that still embrace our indigenous culture. The main song then follows with a slam as it expresses in Yoruba that the youth are left with no choice, having no assurance of where the next meal would come from, and must survive as Segun Adefila enunciates in the following rap verses that come in at intervals. He compares our corrupt system of rulership with those of the advanced world, where one works and happily reaps the reward in contrast to the abundant lack that abounds in spite of the labour of the youths in order to survive in the country, and so these youths shouldn’t be criticized unduly for running away in search of greener pastures abroad. The musical composition of the song is highly experimental and fantastic. The blend of not just hip-hop but a grounded infusion of G-funk makes it way impressive. The change in the progression of the beat mid-way in the track into a more gyrating and popular hip-hop instrumentation was, in fact, mind blowing.


to listen to Mi O Ni Choice) 



Afifilaperin comes in next beckoning on persons who are in the habit of doing very little and making very loud noises of doing so much with fantastical, exaggerated fit. This track is practically didactic with warnings of desisting from such shallow-minded behavior, but the lyrical prowess displayed helps the message settle in comfortably on a bed adventurous electronic sound manipulations. Track five, Gbogbo smashes in without much of a warning, conveying a war-like chant introduced at first by Segun, which is then chorused by the rest of his crew. This track is very dramatic; its verses are rudimentary traditional rap, very rich and cultural, promising terror on the ill-behaved out there causing trouble and discomfort to others. It’s all the way traditional and delightfully natural and overpoweringly danceable. Its expertly rendered percussion is extraordinary! A pure work of art.

 Ariwo Oja is most appealing …deliriously delicious. It soothes the heart cozily as it effectively drives home its instructive message of dissuading from the numerous distractions of life in general and many other lessons of caution, using the market square as an analogy of life. You get this message from the choruses to the alluring refrains, beautifully sung by Deborah, while Happy Soul loops over the chorus from the background in the crafty ambiance of agitation exuding out his ad libs, and finally to the rap verses by Adefila himself. It’s a most soulful song that completely captures the heart in rapture.

 A much mellow but no less soothing Erin slides in gently. A ballad that very much allows Aduke, Fashek, African, Segun Violin, and so on, to brandish their soulful voices on the song alongside Adefila as they convey  yet again words of caution, to beware of surrounding friends professing ostensible love and praises. Arise Larika, coming afterwards, has Crown Troupe preaching to the youths to embrace hard work and avoid being the jest of the community. This is expressed with an indigenous infusing of afro hip-hop with a deeper traditional taste –and a tasteful delight it sure is.

  Mi O je Mo is a profound soul music with an intense presence of jazz. Mellow and dramatic it is, as its melodious tune is bound to course through the nerves of listeners. It is a handsomely rendered duet between the ingenious afro-soul vocalist, Yinka Davies and ever creative and diversely skilled Adefila. The production, crafted with creative proficiency, has a reminiscence of Asa’s Jailer. Slow and steady the two singers express dissatisfaction to an unfulfilling destiny of labourious toiling for very little result in life. And so they chorus rejecting such fate which in literal translation is: I am not eating (this) again.

 Kotokoya, the tenth track, is a hybrid of reggae, hip-hop, which has played a prominent role in almost all tracks of the album, is also mixed with the traditional flavour. A talking drum starts out as an intro that then breaks into a full reggae instrumental with surrounding hip-hop beats before the chorus later follows. This is yet again another warning to heady troublemakers to abstain from causing problems that invariably back-fire at them.

 Koffi’s voice comically cracks out, announcing the intending flight to Bariga. The chorus taken by Adunni slides in. It is a mellow, typical rubadub rhythm and tempo, and it is titled Power Owner. And it is a message directed to the typical corrupt Nigerian leaders and politicians that do nothing useful with public funds meant to be channeled into making life in the country better, but instead steal away these monies for private gluttonous use of getting richer, while the masses at large get drastically impoverished. The delivery of Koffi and the powerfully vocal Adunni riding alongside Adefila was very much on point.

The upbeat Tuale 4 Naija shooting in right after the latter track kills the solemnity the last four songs have had to bear because of the messages conveyed in them. Tuale 4 Naija is a Calypso song that is optimistic in tone, telling of the beautiful, talented, resilient-spirited peoples she’s got, plus the surplus mineral resources, the diverse cultural heritage and a brighter future ahead, the moment everyone of us gets all hands on deck to work out the way forward. This track is the intended finale of the album except for the inclusion of a bonus track, making it the 13th track on the CD, coming right after Tuale. And it’s the remix of Afifilaperin, here, the vocal goddess, Adunni, and her dazzling Nefertiti group did justice to the re-rendering of the song, delivering craft and sheer beauty over its melodious tunes; another beautiful piece sure to make listeners not only dance but also play back the CD from the very beginning of the album. This is no doubt an impressive compilation by Segun Adefila and the Crown Troupe of Africa. The various tracks were produced by the ingenious ID Cabasa, Yeankeys and Vkel and mastered by Segun Akinlolu. The album is printed, presented and distributed by Design And Dream Arts (DADA) under the imprimatur DADA tunes.