What did they say about ‘Ariwo Oja’? “Never listen to it, it distracts. Ariwo oja is a force that manipulates the mind of a man in a way that he loses control of his senses, he forgets his mission in the ‘Oja’ (market), buys what he didn’t budget and forgets what he needs desperately. If care is not taken, the listener begins to enjoy the noise as it would have turned to a pleasant one, he then will dance to loss, to be found no more. That is how powerful Ariwo Oja can be.
One fateful afternoon, she tried so hard to close her ears to Ariwo Oja, however, she became so disappointed in herself because of her actions. The questions are:
Why did she suddenly stop?
Why did she start dancing?
Is she mad?
Is this how madness suddenly manifest?
All these questions and many more crept into my fragile mind as the victim of Ariwo Oja, why am I dancing?
I had fallen in love with the melodious song coming from the most sonorous voice I’ve ever heard. It came from somewhere in this Oja, is this what they call Ariwo Oja? Why on earth will I not dance? This song is unrivalled, not even Celine Dion, ASA, Tiwa Savage or Omawumi can sing like this. So I danced.
Still in the market, the song is coming to me than ever now, ‘sweeter’ and melodious. I searched for her, in this market, I searched. But no, she was nowhere to be found. Who is this singer?
“Young lady” said the meat seller. “I am still waiting, how much meat did you say I should sell for you?” “Bother me not, I will be back”. I put all my belongings on his table including my car and house keys, handbag, purse and a sack containing some stuff I’ve initially bought, I left. He shouted, “hey, hey, sisi mi, arabinrin, come back now, you won’t meet me here when you come later. Come and pack your things from my table”. I heard but Ariwo Oja beckons, i didn’t look back.
I moved very fast despite the crowd. This mellifluous song is irresistible. I walked, stopped and danced. Walked and danced some more. Then, i continued moving, following the direction of the sound. Suddenly, I stopped. What happened? I can’t tell. I looked to my right and looked to my left; still searching. At this point, I saw them, so many, uncountable. Men and women who were busy buying and selling, I saw them, but not the singer. Then I asked myself, why are they not dancing? Am I the only one hearing this vibrating song? Why me?
Louder now she sings, clearly now I heard. Inviting, enticing and tempting me all at once. Charmed by the soothing sound, I closed my eyes, on the spot, refusing to move. Eyes closed still, then I saw her. Clearly and vividly, with my inner eyes I saw her. I felt her, I could sense her presence right there with me, on me, inside me. With fear, I opened my eyes and screamed.
“Come out come out”, I commanded. I felt her, she moved, she wanted to come out. She struggled. But there was no space for her to come out. I wanted to help her, but I must first undress. And as i was untying my wrapper, they stopped me. Yes they did. All of them who have been so busy buying and selling, pretending not to see me in my battle and struggle to meet the singer. They suddenly can see me only when i am about to meet my hero. They didn’t let me see her, they stopped me from helping her to come out. I did not undress, i just could not. It was my heart, it was me.
Written by Biola Pearl Adumati
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Àrèmúorin – Anthony Everest is a Jazz, Soul-R&B Multi Award Winning Indie Singer-Songwriter, Author, Producer. No1, 49+ Weeks, Jazz Charts.
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