Last weekend, I attended my very first wedding in the USA. I've been here close to 9 years and this was the first one. I had known people who were tying the knot, but they were normally marrying in locations that I couldn't afford to go to or I wasn't getting invited. Canada did beat America to my first North America wedding (yay Canada) when I debuted my credit card to fly me to Toronto for my buddy, Eric Hammond's wedding, supposedly as best man. I ended up emceeing the reception. What a Canadian debut! I was very interested to see the songs that would be played at Ernest and Kai's wedding ceremony and reception in the Bay Area. The music selection was cool but I already have a good idea what will be played at my wedding. Unless, my partner comes up with some recipe of her own.
A few African party songs made the list together with some usual suspect Yankee songs. It was a wedding between a Ghanaian born in Canada and an African-American. At Ernest and Kai's reception, Kofi B's popular Koforidua Flowers was played. So I figure. It's about the only song on my own list that made it to DJ Fiifi's rotation. My list is African songs only. Then again, my partner may have something to say about that. If she thinks different, I might just 'incept' an idea into her head. Until then, I can dream. A full blog post about the wedding will come soon but when my friend, Dami, sent me an email requesting some African wedding songs, I knew this entry had to come first.
Of course, before I let you know my own list, you have to check African wedding and marriage songs. Here's a post about African wedding songs. On to my list proper, had to choose lucky 13...... Drumroll, wedding music, dondoooo.....
No One Like You - P-Square (Nigeria)
No other song could have come first. This P-Square hit is just too magnificent. Even the P-Square brothers sing in concert saying "this is my favorite song". Starting a song with the line "Hello, how you doing" is classic. The music video is fantastic and joyous. This is arguably the best and most popular African wedding song. You should play it at yours.
Marry me (thando lwam) - Bojo Mujo (South Africa) & Tequila (Namibia)
One of my best friends sent me this song and she says her fiance proposed to her with it. How cute! He picked a great song. I don't understand all the lyrics but this is just one of the songs that has made me fall in love with South African house music. This is a wicked Southern African collabo and it's a shame it wasn't more popular.
Meye - Kwabena Kwabena (Ghana)
You need to sit down someone who understands Twi to teach you what this song is saying verbatim and intoto. Kwabena sings that "he will do everything his lover wants". Kwabena is one of the best singers ever from Ghana. He was made for love songs and weddings. I want him to be at mine. Heaven doesn't even know Kwabena never made a music video for this song.
Puduo - Ofori Amponsah, Kofi Nti, Barosky, King Khoruz (Ghana)
This is one of All4Real's most underrated songs. He used to dominate the Ghanaian music scene. Otoolege is one of my favorite songs but it's surely not a song to play at a wedding. Here are some translations; "Akyaa, papa ei" - Father of Akyaa; "Wo ba no ahoɔfɛ deɛ, matɔ atua ka" - I have fully bought and paid for the beauty of your daughter; "Merema wo puduo na mafa no o, ayɛ me dɔ" - In exchange of having her as my love, I’ll give you a special vessel made of brass/bronze. "I've tried (4x), agye me nsa mu" - I’ve tried(4x) but it’s out of my control; "Menim sɛ ɔnyi me mma o, ɔdɔ me nko ara" - I know she won’t betray my love because she loves only me (and no one else). Great song.
Never change my mind - Malaika (South Africa)
Malaika is one of my favorite African groups. They scored a continental hit with this one. The music video is just beautiful too! The only English line in the song is "I will never ever change my mind" and it's enough. The rest of the time you can say 'Ke nako' in your head and feel the rhythm in your bones. How much will it cost to fly Malaika in for my wedding too? The song just oozes happiness.
Vul'indlela - Brenda Fassie (South Africa)
This is one of the most popular African songs of all time. I am not such a huge fan but the song just happens to be about marriage as well so why not? Here are some of the translations; "Vul'indlela wemamgobhozi" - Open the gates, Miss Gossip; "He unyana wam" - My baby boy; "Helele uyashada namhlanje" - Is getting married today; "Vul'indlela wela ma ngiyabuza" - Open the gates please; "Msuba nomona" - Don't be jealous; "Unyana wami uthathile" - My son has had a good catch; "Bengingazi ngiyombon'umakoti" - I never thought I'd see a daughter in law; "Unyana wam eh ujongile this time" - My son has been accepted (woman said yes). Mabrr rocks.
With this woman - Darey (Nigeria)
"See, I wanna tell you about this girl in my life". Listening with rapt attention eh? How about I tell you about a bunch of girls in my life for now? But on that wedding day, with this woman, I'll tell you a whole lot more. I mean seriously, "Have you ever had a girl who would make you cry? (cry like a baby); You'll become so lucky you'll be asking why?". This is the song Darey wrote for his wife, Deola. Maybe I'll write my own song before my wedding. I pretty much have a poem to that effect lying somewhere anyway.
Wedding day - 9ice (Nigeria)
9ice of Gongo Aso fame also wrote a song for his wife. Except the marriage didn't end and then 9ice had to write some break-up type songs. Tofiakwa! Not my portion! The song is still good though. It's a song for the wedding day and a promise for before and after. Maybe 9ice should have made a video for the song? Maybe that investment would have prevented him from calling it quits later on? Maybe. This is a definite yes though.
Ololufe - Wande Coal (Nigeria)
Before Wande Coal took Africa by storm asking who's bad and encouraging bumper to bumper, he had this underground hit. The guy is a pop-star akin to T-Pain, but he can sang too. Hey, he even freakin became the number one trending topic on Twitter. "Baby, look at this picture; It's about our future; I want you to be my wife, my bride; And I want you to have my child, my life". Don't you just love this song? "And the only thing that I want you is to say - I do, I do, I do, I do, I do"
You may kiss the bride - Bollie (Ghana)
Just because we'll need some fast-paced song to shekete plenty, this massive jam makes the cut. Who wouldn't want an excuse to be saying "muah/mweh/mwah/mncwa" on their wedding day? "I was in my element; When we were playing the other song; But I am still feeling this one though". The song is not the best wedding story but hey, what else do you wait for on such a day than "You may kiss the bride?" Check it out.
If love is a crime - 2Face Idibia (Nigeria)
Tuface has to represent at my wedding in some form. This will be his contribution. The song does mention wedding saying that the lady in question will be saving herself up for her husband on her wedding night. That's a nice line but this song is about love, more than weddings and marriages. People may argue marriages should not be necessarily built solely on love (discuss). Because in fact, "If love is a crime;
Then I'd like to dey go jail; I said if love is a crime; Then I'll prefer to dey stay jail". 2Baba no lele!
Teu grande amor - Ary (Angola)
We have to have a zouk/kizomba song on the list. I don't understand Portuguese so I can't explain this song fully. I do know that Teu Grande Amor means Your Great Love. That would have been good enough to make the list, except Ary is too beautiful, the music is Kizomba and she hails from Angola. If I was Roberto, this song would be number one on my list. Aish, where's my Portuguese?
Heavy - Obrafour (Ghana)
The wedding cannot end without an Obrafour song. No, it won't be Sete. It's this awesome collabo between Rap Sofour and Kofi B. It even borrows a word from Soul Tee's Oniee (another favorite). Here are some translations; Sɛ menya wo a - if I get you; Sɛ neɛ ɔdɔ bɛyɛ ɔdɔ biara - whatever a lover would do for a lover; Sɛ wotwe ma me - if you allow me; Sɛ neɛ ɔkunu bɛyɛ ɔyere biara - whatever a husband would do for a wife; Sɛ ɛben ma me a - if it is given to me". In fact, I like the song so much that when I sing the rap verses. Yes. And then I repeat this line "Mɛhwɛ no ama nipa aka 'oh oh'"like three times before proceeding. The song is heavy (on my heart).
For those of you who are already married, you can always play some of these songs and this new song by Kojo Antwi made especially for you - Happy anniversary. Other songs that just missed the cut are Oruka - Sunny Nneji (Nigeria), Queen - Longombas (Kenya), True love (2Face Idibia) - Nigeria, Dali wami - Loyiso (South Africa), Obaa ben ni - Daasebre Gyamena (Ghana), Umphathe Kahle - Theo of Mafikizolo (South Africa), Amor - Viviane (Senegal) & Philippe Monteiro (Cape Verde), Don't change - Kaysha (DR Congo), I love you - Yola Araujo (Angola) & Ali Angel (Mexico), Esikyire (Don't change your style) - Wutah (Ghana), African Queen - 2Face Idibia (Nigeria), Till my dying day - Banky W (Nigeria), Sigi kourouni - Sangaré Oumou (Mali), Kotosa - Wutah (Ghana), etc.
I hope you found your next favorite song. You were not clicking alone? W'abɔ loss. Your loss. Either way, I am sure you have your own list. Please share.