Akosua says "Never Run Away" is about the challenges of pursuing something you're really passionate about -- a theme that applies both to starving artists and first-generation immigrant kids trying to make connections with their ancestors. Akosua's old Web site logo [www.waterwomanworks.com] looks like two interlocking treble clefs molded into a heart shape. The ancient symbol means "go back and get it," says the Ghanian-American singer-songwriter (born Akosua Mireku), an expression that translates as "sankofa" in her parents' native language of Twi. As a kid, Akosua listened to her parents and relatives speak to each other in Twi, and felt left out when they turned to address her in English. In retrospect, such code-switching seems understandable, given their desire to assimilate smoothly. But it left her with the gnawing sensation of being trapped in a liminal space between cultures, longing for home and a sense of rootedness. Such emotions pervade her music, even if Akosua has trouble documenting and describing them. The lonely, protracted, slightly off-key riff (ta-ta-da-da-daaaaa di, da-da da-da di-do) with which the singer opens her song "Never Run Away" seems more private and intimate and soulful than the song's actual lyrics (in which she employs metaphors about being submerged in a deep black ocean, and, like, you know, trying to fly out of it). Listen to "Never Run Away" at this link. -- Rachel Swan
DOWNLOAD THIS: Akosua - "Never Run Away"