New Recording! Eno – An Ibibio Folk Song

in #music3 years ago (edited)


Eno is one of those folk songs that you can’t really point to how it came about, but have always been there. Isn’t that what a folk song should be? Eno is a hypothetical youth male character and the folk song is about his potentials of making a great husband. The origin of the song is the Efik/Ibibio/Annang interwoven tribes of Southern Nigeria.

The lyric—presumably from a female narrative perspective—addresses Eno, claiming to only have anything to do with him just to know what type of man Eno is. Nke di’idiongo edu mfo literally translates to I only came to know your character.

The conclusions of the song are puzzling, archaic, but more importantly points a light at what was possibly an established cultural trend. Or is it? The song highlights a preference for older men (iwad, that directly translates to grey hair, and is used to refer to older people), because according to this folk song, iwad is better at taking care of people. Women, in this case.

It is interesting that my childhood holds many memories of youngsters, usually girls, gathering to sing this song in play circles, or at occasions while decorated with clay markings on their bodies as part of full regalia for cultural musical troupes.

I can’t sing so I asked my brother, @papaudeme to record the vocals and lay an instrumentation for the song. He is 6 years younger and missed out on a lot of the fast-erroding heritages I enjoyed, I had to teach him the song, write him the lyric and let him do his stuff. He is a music scholar so I also asked him to make technical notes of the music. Here’s what he wrote back to me:

“Even though majority of African melodies are polyphonic in texture, African music also makes use of homophonic and heterophonic textures, though not extensively. This song has strong elements of homophony as there is a steady note-to-note accompaniment by the harmonic section. Also, this song is very much antiphonal as there is a solo and response throughout the entire song. The lead singer calls and the rest responds.”

The song/lyric

WARNING! Before you listen to this, be warned that you may find yourself humming the rhythm of this song in the course of your day. Sweet sticky melodies. One you should love. Enjoy 😉 Below I also provide lyric to the song in my native language, and add English translations too so you all can appreciate it.

Eno Eno o (iya ooo)
Eno nke di’idiongo edu mfo (iya ooo)
Utu ke ndo akparawa nke do iwad (iya ooo)
Iwad odiongo edu ukama owo (iya ooo)
Akparawa uno etok etok umia ke ikpa (iya ooo)

Eno Eno o (iya ooo) (x2) / Eno Eno (“iya ooo” is just an abstract response)
Eno nke di’idiongo edu mfo (iya ooo) / Eno I came to know your character
Utu ke ndo akparawa nke do iwad (iya ooo) / Instead of marrying a young man I’d marry a granny
Iwad odiongo edu ukama owo (iya ooo) / Grannies know how to treat people
Akparawa uno etok etok umia ke ikpa (iya ooo) / A young man gives you a bit then whip you with a cane
Eno Eno o (iya ooo) (x2) / Eno Eno

Why did I record this song?

First to share with you, and second to serve as a reference for a contest I organize, that seeks to explore folk traditions from around the world, and share them on the Steem blockchain, contributing to valuable content pool. More details of the contests are published on the @sankofa contest account. Please stop by and help spread the words.

I hope you find value in this. Cheers!

Photo by Paul Zoetemeijer on Unsplash


This is so cool, love to hear a bit of the history and your experience with the song as well as a new take on it by the legendary @papaudeme :) Love you guys!

"Legendary @papaudeme!"
I'm sure a lot of people would feel awesome reading that from Carl 🙂 Glad you appreciate it, bro.

great little tune and great idea to explore folk traditions from around the world while we still have people who remember them ;9)

...while we still have people who remember them.
That;s deep, and exactly my reasoning when I reflect on the undertaking. It is these cultural fragments that make us unique and proud, so we have a mandate to preserve them like they did us. Thanks for stopping by to listen :)

UPDATE: Hi @misterakpan this post has been featured in Exponential! C² Featured Posts, a daily publication of the @c-cubed blog. Check it out :)

This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.

Really appreciated. Keep up the good works, team :)

Hello @misterakpan, thank you for sharing this creative work! We just stopped by to say that you've been upvoted by the @creativecrypto magazine. The Creative Crypto is all about art on the blockchain and learning from creatives like you. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon. Steem on!

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