Asa: An Inauguration Day Special From Nigeria


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R&B singer Asa was born in Paris, and grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. Benoit Peverelli hide caption

itoggle caption Benoit Peverelli

Our session with Asa was recorded on Jan. 20, 2009 — better remembered in the U.S. as Inauguration Day.

Every experience seemed heightened that day, and Asa (pronounced "Asha") arrived at WFUV just after we watched Barack Obama being sworn into office. It was a meaningful coincidence for me; I loved the idea that on this day, I would talk to an artist who had traveled all the way from Nigeria to share her music. In fact, just the night before I went to her first U.S. show at Joe's Pub in New York.

Once Asa sound-checked with her trio, the tape started rolling and we engaged in a casual conversation about her inspirations and unlikely start in music. That was followed by a moving, organic performance. In Asa I hear a rising star of world music: an artist who is accessible in all the right ways.

Originally recorded Dec. 11, 2008.

Listen to the previous Favorite Session, or see our full archive.

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