Jumoke Fashola's debut album 'The Condition of Being A Woman', features original compositions and songs from Cole Porter, Nina Simone & Wayne Shorter. The album is a distillation of her diverse musical tastes with a particular emphasis on African inspired jazz, reflecting her musical journey to date from Africa, Europe and beyond.
Jumoke has sung most musical forms from Handel to Gershwin, Paco Peña to Kurt Weill, at venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and the London Arena. As well as a well known jazz and blues singer, Jumoke Fashola is an award winning radio and television presenter. She is the host of ‘Inspirit’, BBC London Radio's Sunday morning lifestyle and ethics programme and the creator & host of the monthly spoken word & jazz series, ‘Jazz Verse Jukebox’ at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club (Upstairs).
Band: Simon Wallace - Piano / Oli Hayhurst - Double Bass / James Maddren - Drums / Richard Olatunde Baker - Percussion & Talking Drums / Matt Hay - Guitar (The Girl You Can't Forget)
Album Notes by Jumoke
1. I am a stranger
Written by Tim Sutton, it's a song about alienation & looking for a place to belong. Who are we really without connection to one another? It’s that yearning to belong that makes us human. We are all strangers until we see the humanity in each other.
2. African Footprints (Footprints)
One of my passions in life is poetry. I so admire people who are poets, that's why I run a monthly jazz & spoken word night upstairs at the legendary Ronnie Scott's in London. I have a particular penchant for Franco-african poets like Birago Diop. His poem 'Breaths' is set on the album to the Wayne Shorter classic track, Footprints. Now that both my parents are gone, I'm an 'orphan' and the words have particular poignancy.
3. Recession Blues
As I write this, the banks tell us things are looking up financially around the world. I really hope that is the case. I wrote this when I was feeling poor! And it seems to resonate with audiences when we perform it. I hope that this becomes a redundant song in many ways and that we all become flush!
4. Four Women
I am a huge fan of Nina Simone. This song reminds me that we all have a 'back' story that we are more than just a name. As women, much is expected yet sometimes very little is given back in return. What is your 'name', who are you? Who am I when everything is stripped away? And if people really got to know the real person would they still love us?
5. Miss Celie’s Blues
The Color Purple is one of my favourite films. I love watching Celie emerge from being a shy, abused girl to becoming a strong wise, independent woman. This all about developing sassiness, strength & conviction in ones self
6. Rough And Ready Man
Written by Alberta Hunter in the late 1920’s, this is one of the funniest songs to perform live. Alberta was a woman who started singing in the early 1900’s and apart from a 2 decade hiatus when she worked as a nurse, she was still going strong into her late 80’s. An amazing songwriter and one of the earliest African-American singers to make the transition from performing in lowly brothels and sporting houses into the international spotlight.
7. My Heart Belongs To Daddy
Dedicated to all the fabulous women, young & old, that shine like beacons! Strut your stuff, girls! The vocalese I wrote in the middle of the track is dedicated to all the 'cougars'!
8. Afro Blue
Afro Blue starts with an Oriki, which is a praise song in Yoruba, a Nigerian dialect. This particular one is sung to Eyo, a masquerade that emerges only at certain festivals in Lagos. My family have their own Eyo, which represents our forebears. An Oriki is also a praise song which parents / musicians sing to remind you of your heritage. My mother always used to greet me loudly when I went home with an Oriki. It used to be so embarrassing but oh what I would give now, to hear her sing it one more time . . .
9. The Girl You Can't Forget
Simon Wallace is a master at all he does. It's such an honour to have one of his songs on my album. I love the lyric written by the late great Fran Landesman. I bet at some point in her life she would have said these words to someone & meant them. Fran was never shy!
10. Welcome to love
I was on holiday in Greece and I met the songwriter, James Wallace. He heard me sing in the afternoon. The next day he said, ‘I have written a song for you’. This is it. This always reminds me of languid evenings, fat figs on trees and walks to the beach at dawn . . .
11. You Stay
I wrote this when I was deeply & passionately in love. That relationship ended but the song remains . . .
12. Joy Spring
This was the first ever jazz song I learnt. I love Clifford Brown. His story does sadden me. Such a talented man, he died too young & so unexpectedly. But what an amazing catalogue of musical treasures that he left behind . . .
13. Here’s to Life
This is one of my all time favourite songs. I sing it in my mothers memory and for everyone who just needs a little reminder that over that seemingly insurmountable hill, there is hope and a reason to embrace every moment of life.
“A head- spinningly versatile singer” – Timeout !
"Fashola offers irresistible entertainment, her performance outstanding as cabaret MC as well as singer. Hers is an essential vision of great songs from one of the ever-moving cultural frontiers of jazz" – London Jazz News.