As we can see through the work we’ve published so far here on Fortunate Traveller, travel stories can be presented or told in many different artistic genres or forms. Though we commonly think of the travel book or travelogue as the main form of travel literature, artists have also turned to poetry, music, dance and visual arts to capture something of their travels.
In today’s post, the travel story comes as performance poetry by the inimitable and multi-talented artiste, Segun Akinlolu, also known by his stage name as Beautiful Nubia. In this live performance, ‘To an Indian Child in Nairobi’, from his performance poetry album, Like a Tale Told at Night (2006), Akinlolu tells and sings of a charming encounter he had with a little girl at the Nairobi airport. What is encoded in the silent communication when two strangers meet is explored in this piece. Akinlolu, who describes himself as an itinerant poet, shares the most remarkable thing about his journeys in his short introduction on the track, ‘The experiences and the people I meet are the big gains I get.’ Clearly, travel for him is the richness of encounters.
Akinlolu, who has distinguished himself as a live performer, employs the artistic embellishment of call-and-response central to the Yoruba oral tradition to remember the little girl and imagine the dialogue he never had with her. His language is a sweet meld of Yoruba and English which you will certainly enjoy.
So, again, as it is our custom, it is with warm pleasure we invite you to listen to these beautiful words. Go on and press play. You may also listen on Deezer.
Segun Akinlolu was born in Ibadan, Nigeria in 1968. He graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (University of Ibadan) in 1992 and worked in that field for 8 years before becoming a full time artist. He has published four books of poetry, three live performance poetry albums, a book of fiction and an autobiography, Sounds of Joy. He records and performs music as Beautiful Nubia, and has over 200 songs to his credit.
Cover image: Joel Bassuk