preview

Oya Song Analysis

Good Essays
Oya is the second track on Ibeyi’s self-titled debut album, preceded by a prayer to Eleggua, orisha of the crossroads and the first to be saluted in all Santería ceremonies. The song’s title is a reference to an orisha of the same name, who is believed to be the guardian of the dead and the harbinger of righteous change and destruction. Both sisters claim personal patronage from Oya, and in Ibeyi fashion, the track sounds more like a ceremonial evocation than a radio-friendly pop song. The arrangement is sparse, consisting mostly of a looped acapella melody (Figure 1). To my ears, the melody has a Gregorian air about it, imbuing the recording with a Westernized air of mystery and spiritual reverence. The melody is occasionally accompanied by a deep, electronic bass, which sounds like an animalistic growl one moment and a cheetah-like roar in others. Figure 1: Oya’s underlying melody (Musescore) Much like the music, Oya’s lyrics are also very minimal. The verses showcase Lisa-Kaindé’s voice, as she sings, “Even if I feel the sun on my skin everyday / If I don't feel you / Even if I see the most beautiful things up in the sky / If I don't see you.” Out the surface, such lyrics would invite accusations of pointless esotericism; however, when considering Oya’s dark and unpredictable nature, one can imagine Lisa-Kaindé (who wrote the song after a breakup) penned the words as a reminder to herself that no matter how idyllic things may be at the moment, sudden, and oftentimes
Get Access