Watery Rhythms ~ Deva Premal sings of Oshun, Goddess of rivers, seashores and love


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Listen very closely to this song, to the underlying rhythms. What’s that sound, the shsh sshh shsshsh?

This mantra is Ide Were Were, from Deva Premal’s album Love is Space. Listen closely. There’s a hint right at the start. Depending on the fidelity of your sound system, you may not recognise it. The sound quality of the video reproduces just enough fidelity to hear it, though the source becomes clear at the very end.

I’ll give you the lyric, the story it tells and some background on Oshun, the West African goddess, while you continue to listen.

Ide Were Were

Ide Were Were
Ide were were nita oshun
ide were were
ide were were nita oshun
ide were were nita ya
ocha kiniba nita oshun
cheke, cheke, cheke
nita ya
ide were were

“A Yoruba, W. African song that sings of Oshun, the goddess of rivers, seashores, and love, and speaks of a necklace, a symbol of the initiation to Love.”

According to Tribes of Creation

The Importance of Oshun in Yoruba Culture

According to the Yoruba elders, Oshun [also Osun, Oxum] is the “unseen mother present at every gathering”, because Oshun is the Yoruba understanding of the cosmological forces of water, moisture, and attraction. Therefore she is omnipresent and omnipotent. Her power is represented in another Yoruba scripture which reminds us that “no one is an enemy to water” and therefore everyone has need of and should respect and revere Oshun, as well as her followers.

Oshun is the force of harmony. Harmony we see as beauty, feel as love, and experience as ecstasy. Oshun according to the ancients was the only female Irunmole amongst the original 16 sent from the spirit realm to create the world. As such, she is revered as “Yeye” — the sweet mother of us all. When the male Irunmole attempted to subjugate Oshun due to her femaleness she removed her divine energy, called ase by the Yoruba, from the project of creating the world and all subsequent efforts at creation were in vain. It was not until visiting with the Supreme Being, Olodumare, and begging Oshun pardon under the advice of Olodumare that the world could continue to be created. But not before Oshun had given birth to a son. This son became Elegba, the great conduit of ase in the Universe and also the eternal and infernal trickster.

Oshun is known as Iyalode, the “(explicitly female) chief of the realm.” She is also known as Laketi, she who has ears, because of how quickly and effectively she answers prayers. When she possesses her followers, she dances, flirts and then weeps — because no one can love her enough and the world is not as beautiful as she knows it could be.

I particularly like the passage… “Oshun is the Yoruba understanding of the cosmological forces of water, moisture, and attraction.” Water. Always flowing, ever changing, it clings to all it touches. What cold be more evocative of feminine attraction, sensual arousal, than moisture, especially for an unblushing goddess such as Oshun? “Her power … reminds us that “no one is an enemy to water” and therefore everyone has need of and should respect and revere Oshun.”

Mmmmmmm…. Do you hear the watery rhythms now?

In all the music I’ve ever heard, I can’t think of another arrangement that uses water in this way, to actively create a rhythm with splashes, slaps and rippling, a rhythm as evocatively sensual and beautiful as the goddess it is performed for.


7 Responses to “Watery Rhythms ~ Deva Premal sings of Oshun, Goddess of rivers, seashores and love”

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  1. Natalie says:

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    Such beautiful music… I love oshun…and this song represents the feminine energy of the goddess and the watery music how she flows around us….!

    • Patrick says:

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      Hi Natalie!

      Oh dear, I’m rather delinquent in replying, aren’t I…

      … ah well, I’m with you. I love this song, and after researching its meaning, delighted to find that the water theme carried through from aural to lyrical. So beautiful.

  2. jatinder says:

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    i was listening to the song and today it touched me deeply and i was searching for the meaning of the same …thanks for becoming the bridge between me and oshun..blessings !!!

  3. Moon_Oshun says:

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    I am initiated Oshun next year and I LOVE this energy, her message, her blessings! I also love Deva Premal! I am moved that she made such a beautiful rendition of Oshun. I am purchasing this album! I have 2 of hers already! Thank you! (((love)))

    • Patrick says:

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      Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm. We share it. [smile] Deva — she of the angelic presence and voice — is my favourite.

      Last fall, I managed to catch her live with Miten and Manoose … oh my! Should you ever get the chance, don’t miss her live.

      Moon, your gravatar doesn’t have a link to your blog. If you add that to your gravatar profile, folks (like me) will be able to find your blog through your gravatar. ;)

  4. Cecilia Guillen says:

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    This song has been song by many others as well as Deva Premal. Very beautiful in melody and lyrics. Like all great music, it really appeals to the whole area of the cosmic drift — what your body does with the music is the opening up of many petals and the resurgence of rivers and oceans within the body as well. Before you know it, YOU are the cosmos.

    • Patrick says:

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      Cecilia, I love how you describe how the presence of music plays in the conversation between our mind, body and spirit, and how music can remind us of our connection to all things. Lovely.

      Thank you for offering it here.

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