We Need an “Elbow Room”: An Appraisal of Younglan’s "Elbow Room"
by Alewa House, published 11 months, 4 weeks ago
There is a philosophical argument which proposes that man is a product of his surroundings. The notion argues that the sum of man’s decisions, actions and inclinations are innately imprinted by the impressions he/she has witnessed. Although the counter argument proposes that some persons can transcend the complicated social conditioning of their society. It is inherently difficult to outrun the impact of the experiences that one has grown accustomed to.
Poetry has a way of baring out our impressions of the society. It is a channel that expresses the deepest sense of our vulnerability, our strengths, our fears and even our love. But sometimes, a poetic piece has the power to transport us into a place where we can both reflect and introspect on the choices, the experiences and the decisions that have led us to the moment that we are in.
Younglan’s “Elbow Room” begins with the familiar angst of a character in contradiction. The contradiction arises from the most familiar of places.
The human desire to navigate the pitfalls of the emotions of love and hate.
“Everything you seem to love now
You might just end up hating
And everything you seem to hate now
You might just end up loving
So I am hating the President now,
So that I might just love him later”
Across these few lines, a deeper story unravels.
It is a story that lays its soul bare over the rest of the poem.
A story of the contradictions of man’s experiences.
An experience which in some ways; has grown accustomed to the futility of the system.
When Younglan discourses the society in the way it projects its values, he replays the very plot of the sad society that we are immersed in. He discusses a society where hardwork is constantly being preached, but in hindsight; the most successful individuals are the persons who are steeped in the less than stellar ways of politics.
The contradiction in the experience is thus; while the politicians live a life that is different from the one the masses experience, the masses still lie in awe of the politician who continues to pillage the values of the masses. The politician has no restraint. His lack of restrain, by default creates a sublet of identities. It creates the “collaborators” who are content to wallow in fear and live in the status quo. The second group is the one he describes as the ones that might become “monsters.”
There are other contradictions within the story of the Have and Have Nots that he projects.
For instance, when he talks about getting guns, his answer is thus,
“But if we all get guns
Then we all might be gone soon”
Or when he talks about the state of the poor, he says
“The earth has had enough of the poor man’s blood
These days, it regurgitates it even,
For it thirsts for the blood of these bloodthirsty politicians, so”
Up until this point in the poem, the biggest question had been what direction the poet wanted the story to go to. The end goal was not to just offer up the state of contradictions within our society, or to just highlight the experiences of the masses who suffer inexhaustible hardships while politicians loot, pillage and walk away.
The end goal was something more subtle.
A certain kind of defiance that wiggles its way out of a dilemma.
Younglan projects himself as an outsider on the inside of a society that offers him as much contradictions as the one he battles within himself.
When he plays within the fringes of love and hate at the beginning of the poem, he found himself choosing to decide upon a route that will end in an outcome that feels the most secure.
His decision is to approach the tougher end of the contradiction first.
His experience and the nature of the society he has grown in, makes this a herculean task.
But it is a task he can maneuver because he has found a way.
The way, and in the end, the “safe space”, lies in the manifestation of the people.
Ever since I listened to the poem; my greatest question had been what the elbow room was.
The truth is, the “elbow room” is a free scope. An adequate space for work or operation; when it comes down to it, the “elbow room” is every individual deciding to choose what side of the contradiction they will prefer.
What Younglan has succeeded in showcasing is the binary of society, where action and consequence is deeply visible.
This is the part of the story that we sometimes fail to see. Every line of the poem is in constant conflict with the next because every line is a consequence of the next action. The politician, the collaborator, the masses who may become monsters, they are all deep psychological products of the society that they are familiar with. Their actions and decisions, whether dictated by love or hate, remains inherently dependent on the experiences that they witness.
The impact of that decision will decide how every individual unites under a common protest, a common election. The revolution in the end is for the common man.
The man in the streets may feel imprisoned by the way of his society. That is only for a while. He/she will find his/her free scope. And when he/she does, the revolution will be as they always say “televised.”
“Elbow Room” is not a typical poem that allows you to be outside of the experience. It drags you in because it speaks of a familiar space that we all understand.
From the moment Edge Golbador’s Falsetto warms over the sweet chords at the beginning, and he wails those enchanting cries, you are drawn into the experience that suggest that whatever is being said requires your mind to be at peace.
The society we survive in is burning into its nadir.
From the deepest hooks of oppression, we must find an elbow room to move into our own truths.
Maybe this piece is a rallying call to us all.
What is your elbow room?
Reviewed by Elijah Abuni Peter
by Alewa House, published 3 days, 21 hours ago
As you may have already known, there are very few emerging female artists in the Nigerian music industry and Alewa House seeks to increase this demographic by increasing women participation. On this note, we present to you Herbeembola, the first Afrobeat Artist to ever enrol on the platform.
Herbeembola, with the support of Alewa House, announces the release of their song "Keke".
Keke is set to hit most streaming platforms worldwide on the 10th of February 2023.
We would love your support in allowing an exceptional music artist to reach a wider audience. Even as St. Valentine's love season approaches and love songs are the norm, this artist has a different perspective to unburden with this release.
Her vocal prowess shines forth from the intro, accompanied by an engrossing instrumental, while her message urges a disloyal lover out of her life. The blend of English and Yoruba language on this track is seamless as well as endearing, keeping you wanting more.
Herbeembola (Abimbola Oyewo) boldly launched her music career with a 5 song EP in 2021, including Soul, Pop, Afrobeat, and Dancehall genres. Having sung in the church choir from a young age, Herbeembola has been following a dream of becoming an icon of positive influence through music. She was largely influenced by Tiwa Savage, Olamide, Teni, Kizz Daniel, and very indigenous styles. Her dexterity is however not limited to attracting foreign consumers. It was well established in her last project, and "Keke" is a continuation of the journey of exploring her sound. She is convinced that floating a successful music career is her destined path in life.
Her achievements include Voice 2Rep "Top 10 Finalists Material" from a pool of over 1,000 artists.
You can connect with her on her social media handles as follows
by Alewa House, published 1 month ago
Welcome to 2023! For us, the year 2022 was about staying low and figuring out what we want our brand to be like in the minds of our audience and listeners. This meant that we didn’t do a lot of online activities, as we were hibernating.
However, Alewa House video, textual and audio streaming platform was still functional and we have compiled all the trending songs, hits and content that kept our platform alive.
What we also didn’t fail to do was use traditional media, JayFM Jos, every Saturday, to play the songs of the top three most streamed, engaged and downloaded songs on Alewa House. This has kept us in the minds of 15 million listeners every weekend. We have also kept our 1 million fans in the know, through our mailing list.
In all, we have had 20 million impressions this year. Below are the creators we would like to recognize for their contribution and partnership with us. Based on stats and figures influenced by actions and in actions of our prestigious community, here are our top creators:
2020 top 10 songs by unique streams, here are they:
2020 to 10 songs by number of unique downloads, here they are:
and finally, to our storytellers, find the top 10 stories for 2022 wrap-up by views including repeated views:
That's it for 2022. Thanks for joining the Nigerian airways, okay... Kidding.. Thanks for reading our newsletters and staying with us through out the year.