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‘Ikwerre Road is a very significant place in my life. That’s where it all began for me.
I was born there and I speak the ‘Ikwerre’ language quite fluently. I lived there till I was about 10 years old before I suddenly moved city.’
Ikwerre Road is a body of work that serves as an introduction to Azu Yeché both as a person and an artist – it is his story in his own words.
Every lyric, chord and vocal melody on the EP was written by Azu.
‘I really wanted the songs to be 100% me in terms of lyrics and melody so I wrote it myself,’
The EP touches on some very personal subjects that shaped the trajectory of Azu’s life so far.
Stunning standout song ‘Lagos’ details the harrowing ordeal of Azu’s brother being stabbed which resulted in him moving to Lagos and subsequently England.
Accompanied by just a piano and some kora flourishes, Azu delivers an emotional and heart wrenching vocal that will move even the coldest of hearts.
There are lighter moments such as the jubilant ‘Farmhouse’ which has been supported by BBC Introducing and BBC Radio 6 where he speaks about the more joyous, carefree aspects of his childhood before the attack.
Fan favourite ‘Black Market’ touches on forbidden love and the truly marginalised. ‘I come from quite a religious background and it is my experience that such organised institutions can force people into shapes that aren’t always natural to them and the result is that they hide the aspects that don’t fit the status quo’
The soothing, soulful ‘Sons and Daughters’ was inspired by his best friend who was bullied in school as a result of a disability. ‘She is still absolutely my best friend and I watched people make fun of her and the toll it took on her and I was/am very protective of her so I wrote Sons and Daughters just to let her know that we could create a world of our own where she was ‘normal’ and just glorious.
The personal nature of this record does not impede its accessibility whatsoever. With its catchy , sing- along hooks delivered in Azu’s utterly soulful and distinctive voice, Ikwerre Road provides depth and charm.
No wonder EARMILK called his voice ‘commanding’ and his storytelling ‘vivid’