Chika Unigwe’s powerful The Middle Daughter, a modern retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone, is another enthralling novel from one of our finest storytellers.
Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:
The rippling effect of grief on the family makes the story all the more wrenching. Unigwe’s textured imagery and rich, lyrical prose make this a welcome addition to Nigerian feminist literature.”
Ugo, my protagonist’s youngest sister loves playing music. In the novel, she’s always listening to music. So, she was the obvious choice to ask for a playlist. She left me an enthusiastic voice note thanking me for the opportunity, and texted this to me almost immediately.
Party Music Playlist
Like party jollof, these are unmissable for a successful party!!!
Buga by Kizz Daniel. No party is complete without Buga. Everyone stands up when this song is played, it doesn’t matter how old they are. This is the great equalizer. Even presidents took part on the Buga challenge that went viral last year. If you don’t have Buga on your playlist, what are you waiting for? You’re missing a good thing shaaaa!
Enjoy by Tekno. The first time I heard this song, I knew I had found the perfect song for those who won’t let me be. All the olofofos who drink Panadol for someone else’s headache; I no dey sick, you wan give me medicine? Allow me to enjoy myself. It’s probably the song I’d request from a DJ if it isn’t played. And I’d most probably be directing it at someone at the party.
Last Last by Burna Boy. No list is complete without the African Giant, the one and only Burna Boy. This song always gets me jumping like an excited child.
Music for When I’m Missing My Sisters… which is always.
Leaving on a Jet Plane by John Denver. My mother loves this song. When we were children, she’d play this in this car, and Udodi who knew all of the lyrics would sing along. It makes me cry. I imagine Udodi getting on the airplane to Atlanta, flying away from us.
Game Over by P-Square. Nani loves this song. Or perhaps, I should say that Nani loved this song because Nani has changed. Trauma marks the body in various ways. Her life is divided into before Ephraim and after Ephraim. Everything that happened before that man, my sister wants to forget. Yet, when I think of the Nani before things fell apart, I think of her face splitting into a smile whenever this song played on the radio. I also suspect that she had a crush on Peter and Paul.
Ada Ada by Flavour. Our mother used to call Udodi Ada Ada sometimes. Doda called her Ada Daddy. You don’t see this in the book because not all of our lives made it into the novel. This song reminds me of a time when life was so much easier, so much sweeter, so much good-timing , like Udodi would say. Ada Ada anyi, I’ll miss you forever!
Zumba Playlist (this changes every month)
I got into Zumba the year we moved to the US. I don’t know why Chika Unigwe didn’t write that into the book as it’s a really important part of how I have kept sane. Without Zumba, I’d have dug a hole and buried myself inside it.
Johnny by Yemi Alade; Shakiti Bobo by Olamide; Jerusalema by Master KG feat. Burna Boy and Nomcebo Zikode ; Shake Body by Skales; and Calm Down by Rema
Chika Unigwe was born and raised in Enugu, Nigeria. She graduated from the University of Nigeria, KU Leuven (Belgium) and has a PhD from Leiden University, Holland. Author of The Middle Daughter, Unigwe’s previous work includes novels On Black Sisters Street and Night Dancer as well as the short story collection Better Never than Late. She was also a contributor to Of This Our Country: Acclaimed Nigerian Writers on the Home, Identity and Culture They Know; Lagos Noir; New Daughters of Africa; and Regiones Imaginaires. Find her online at ChikaUnigwe.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram (@chikaunigweauthor), Twitter (@chikaunigwe), and LinkedIn.