The Nigerian superstar pushes the boundaries of Afropop with this classy mini-project that only bodes well for the future.
In 10 years of career, Tiwa Savage has undeniably succeeded in establishing herself as THE diva of contemporary West Africa. Known for feel good afropop anthems like “Koroba” (from her last album Celia) or “Ma Lo”, it seems like the singer has nothing to prove in this field and is looking for something else. It is at least the feeling we are left with when listening to Water & Garri, this new project named after this dry manioc flour that becomes a tasty dish with water and sugar. On the five songs of this EP, none of them sounds like what the singer has offered us so far. Tiwa says it herself on her social media : “I freed myself, I put the music first, I created without fear. I didn’t know what to expect when I released this record, but the fact that you all felt this EP means that I can never go wrong if I really listen to my heart”.
Indeed, Water & Garri is an important artistic shift. “Work Fada”, for example, is a poignant ballad where Tiwa sings with Nas, the monumental New York rapper. Pharrell Williams himself is a fan of the track and compares it with Aretha Franklin in a video that has gone viral. “Tales By Moonlight”, featuring Ghanaian artist Amaarae, is a languid pop track, while “Special Kinda”, featuring Tay Iwar, ends on an electro outro. Actually, the only pure Afrobeats song seems to be “Somebody’s Son”, even if it features American RnB singer Brandy. If this project has only five tracks, it seems to have revealed new prestigious talents that Tiwa Savage had not shown us. We are looking forward to what the diva will do with her new weapons.
Water & Garri by Tiwa Savage, out now.
Listen to “Tales By Moonlight” in our Songs of the Week playlist on Spotify and Deezer.