Sometimes the most wonderful music come be found in the oddest of places…like the soundtrack for ‘The Wild Thornberries Movie.’ Yes you read right. One of my favorite world music songs as well as one of the most calming songs I’ve came across came from that soundtrack that my mom for some reason bought for my brothers and I (?) or maybe herself (??) even though we never saw the movie in theaters. Regardless, one day I popped into my CD player and found the gem that is “Awa Awa” by Wes. I’ll be amazed if anyone’s heard this one!
A song that makes you feel like nature is truly all around you (despite the fact I’m in the concrete jungle of New York City) and like the elephants, zebras, and lions aren’t too far, “Awa Awa” truly transports you somewhere else.
An ethereal instrumental begins the track with Wes (what a sexy name!) chanting in his native language before a pulse and light percussion is added as the track begins its journey. On the verses Wes’ shows another singing style that is sounds almost half falsetto/half chest voice. It’s a very interesting vocal style that I’ve never heard used in Western music really.
A truly magical aspect of this song is the African chorus in the song that sound similar to an aural representation of a transient approaching rain storm–the idea of strong, dark, ominous that disappear as soon as they appeared clouds is the best way I can think to describe the chorus. They sound menacing for just a quick second before fading away and the song is allowed its sunshine to come through again. It’s very cool to hear and requires a lot of training on the chorus’ part.
Throughout the song we have more choral sections, an electric guitar breakdown, as well as Wes’ interesting vocal styles that make this song extremely uplifting and at the same time very relaxing.
Take a listen (perhaps with your eyes closed?) and take yourself to a new valley of sound that is Wes’ “Awa Awa.”
Wes’ 1998 album Welenga featuring “Awa Awa” is available now (iTunes)