The Day Aṣha the Nigerian musical "Hawk" bewildered a London audience. Written by Kayode Ogundamisi
Asa (pronounced "Asha") Bukola Elemide is a Nigerian -- French singer-songwriter and recording artist. Her stage name "Asa" means "Hawk" in Yoruba. Born in Paris, France to Nigerian parents ASA'S cross culture can be seen in her music but with her Yoruba background reflecting greatly in her music. Asa grew up in Lagos, in the south-western part of Nigeria later returned to her country of birth France. She is fast becoming the face of Nigeria. ASA had an 02 debut when she played in the 2,500 capacity indigo02 centre.
Just a week before ASA's performance another compatriot of ASA known as Sade Adu had performed at the main centre of the 02 almost filling up the 25,000 capacity main bowl thus staging a come back after 18 years. Like ASA Sade Adu is caught between two cultures as a British-Nigerian. ASA may not have the stage presence of Sade Adu and probably has a long way to go to on the international stage but she is proving to be a gem and a talent with the potential of breaking through the difficult international terrain. Her music is fast gaining acceptance in major European cities and she is being managed by Asa Sony/BMG UK.
ASA came on stage at exactly 12 minutes past 9, just a few minutes after her billed start time, a pleasant departure from the usual Nigerian artists who perform in the UK and sometimes start up to 2 hours late. Another surprise for the mainly Nigerian crowd was that they were going to be entertained by ASA'S 8 member LIVE BAND. (New generation Nigerian artists touring the UK basically mime to music played by a DJ) The London concert went well with impressive audience participation. ASA'S confidence when singing appears to be different when she's addressing the audience - you get the impression of a shy young lady who is more comfortable singing her song and passing her message across through music. Her attempts at political and social messages reflect that of a singer who is caught between two cultures. ASA'S choice of costume also reflects an artist who is comfortable in the simple attire.
She pounced on stage with no shoes on and is extremely comfortable in her own world. ASA'S debut album Aṣa, did very well and resonated very well amongst her mainly Nigerian and African audience, but with a change in management ASA like most African artist seems to be bowing to the commercial influence of western artist managers and a slow movement to satisfy the needs of her western audience could be noticed in her second album titled Beautiful Imperfection which was released on 25 October 2010. In that struggle between the original Aṣha and ASA you can not take away the talent of an artist who has the world at her feet.