Salia Koroma: On Love
Strictly considered, Mende Gendei is a meditation, in highly poetic language, on power, wealth, and fame. The song starts out with the intensely personal (Part 1), then moves on to the ‘national’ (Part 2), and finally on to a ‘universal’ take on the natures of those reflections (Part 3). Salia Koroma, in order to tackle those themes, begins with a reflection on love as a ‘gateway’ theme. So to understand this song fully one would’ve to start at the beginning, with the opening lines, and then move in gradually.
Sweet & Sour: Salia begins the song by evoking the essential nature of love, the two forces that operate in tandem at its heart: sweetness and transience, excitement and pain, the summit and the base, life and death. The heart that soars with love, the heart that promises everything can also be filled with the most unbearable pain when everything falls flat.
Ndoma nƐni, ndoma Ɛ lo (Love is sweet, love doesn’t last). 0′ 12″-16″
Nya lii, nya, i vawe’a ha nya ma (I, how my heart’s troubled today!) 0′ 49″-54″
Beyond Words: Name the lover who, in their right mind, sets out to describe love, unless they intend from the outset to be trite? And because love can be so overwhelming an emotion, the honest lover admits their powerlessness to describe the ineffable:
Eee…ndoma nƐni/Ngoli i bƐni nya la (Eee.. love is sweet/I just can’t sing it).
But if love’s pleasures are mostly intangible, those pleasures can be physical also and no less exhilarating (probably even more so):
KpƐkpƐ nƐvƐ/Ndapi nƐ’i kpukƆma taa (Cleaving to, inseparably/Bed-tussling is such a thrill).
A Battlefield Too: Sweetness and bitterness co-exist. If things don’t grow flat with habit and the passage of time, there’re other forces at work to undermine and ruin the initial sweetness: the meanness and jealousy of others.
Ngi wulia wƆ maha jƆhun ngƐ ngi bawoa/I rushed into a royal marriage thinking it a sanctuary
MƐma kƆ mia nya ho’a bƆma/Little did I know I was entering a war. 3′ 06″-12″
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(More on Salia Koroma: On Love in my next posting)