In the Post #158: Ghostpoet returns with politically-charged single ‘Immigrant Boogie’

By on Monday, 24th April 2017 at 12:00 pm

In just 6 weeks, the next UK general election will take place and in the footsteps of Brexit last summer, the outcome of the vote will no doubt have unprecedented consequences on the country and the rest of the world. The return of Obaro Ejimiwe, better known under his stage name Ghostpoet, and his own unique viewpoint is fortuitous, and not a moment too soon. Late last week, he unveiled a stream of ‘Immigrant Boogie’, his first new material since 2015’s Mercury Prize-nominated ‘Shedding Skin’. Here’s Ejimiwe’s own description of the song:

It’s a first person account of a difficult journey across borders, partly intended to ask those who have questioned the arrival of refugees in recent times what they would do in the same situation. The song is written in two halves – the first hopeful for a brighter future, while the second sees hope snatched away by forces beyond the control of the storyteller. There is an important story to be told there, but I wrote the song in a way that aims to capture a broader human truth: that while we are all working for a better life for ourselves, we have to accept that we are not in control of the outcome.

There’s no escaping the haunting notes of the lead guitar line, or the distorted synths lending a feeling a disorientations. The overall musical effect is a sinister one, meant to mirror the desperate mindset of fleeing refugees. Ejimiwe intones, “I was dreaming of a better life / with two kids and my loving wife / I can’t swim, the water’s in my lungs / and there it ends, a life that’s just begun”, in a vocal style more like Gil Scott Heron’s spoken word than that of a traditional singer/songwriter.

As the song progresses, the sense of desperation increases, a repeated note sounding like an oncoming locomotive as the song heads for a cacophonous end. The single is also notable for its vocal guest star Charlie Steen, lead singer of South London punks and SXSW 2017 alums Shame. As the first taster of what we’re told have been Ghostpoet’s recording sessions over the last few months in London Town, the potential for his next album to be politically cutting seem quite bright.


New single from Ghostpoet ‘Immigrant Boogie’ is out now on PIAS. To read all of our past writing on Ghostpoet here on TGTF, go here.


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