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Ooni displays Drum dexterity at Ayan-Agalu Festival

By Gabriel Omonhinmin

At the closing ceremony of this year’s Ayangalu festival which was held in Ile-Ife, in Osun State, participants in the annual event were stunned when Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife, held the crowd spellbound for about half an hour with the display of his hitherto unknown talent as a drummer.

The Ooni dazzled participants at the event when he took up the symbolic African talking drum called ‘IYA ILU’.

The first-class traditional ruler told the cheering crowd that he has decided to beat the traditional drums to their delight, as a mark of peace and tranquillity in Nigeria especially now that the country is gradually approaching another round of elections. Thus, pleading to politicians to continue to exhibit utmost restraints in all that they do during this period.

He described the African talking drum as a vital tool for communicating peaceful coexistence globally.

The Ooni had earlier during the flag-off ceremony of the festival, held on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, said the Oduduwa race was the first tribe to beat the drum in the entire world.

Ooni said, “This festival has to do with the rhythm of the drum, which has to do with our connection to the spiritual connotations. Globally, people usually called our ancestors animists, because they had a strong relationship with them.

“The Ayangalu festival has been in existence from time immemorial as one of our deities. No matter the tribe, black, white or brown, the world cannot do without the drum. The whole world has enjoyed and will continue to appreciate the rhythm of drums as it concerns them.

“We are just remembering our ancestors and giving them the honour that they deserve. I, therefore, urge the Oodua race worldwide, especially the Yorubas in particular, to jointly continue to celebrate the Ayangalu festival to let the whole world know that the drum originated from us here in Africa”.

He emphasized the roles played by Orunmila in the drumming communication being the deity that first decoded the meaning of the drum and things that had to do with it.

“Our ancestors used drum majorly for communication, for it goes beyond entertainment and till date, Yoruba people use the drum for communication and as a vital tool for preaching peace and harmony.

His Imperial Majesty Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife
His Imperial Majesty Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife

“By the spirit of Ayangalu festival, we use the rhythm and tone to communicate peace and peaceful coexistence to our people.

“We are like the barometer in the next electioneering campaign in Nigeria, Osun gubernatorial election is coming up in the next two to three weeks and that will lead to a major election in Nigeria by next year, January.” Ooni Ogunwusi stated.

Also, the Ayangalu Ambassador, who doubles as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Adire Oodua Hub, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, commended the Ooni for celebrating our female deities and other heroines such as Moremi, Olokun, Osun, Osara and Ayangalu among others.

Ademiluyi said that Ayangalu was a patron deity of drumming, who deserves to be celebrated. She also lauded Ooni for championing gender equality by letting the whole world know that Ayangalu was a female deity.

Ms Ayoola Ibukun Bisola, popularly known as Bisola Omoge Bata, who is the Face of Ayangalu Festival 2022, expressed her gratitude to the Ooni for making her Face of the Festival and enjoined Nigerians to show more interest in showcasing the African drumming tradition to the world.

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Ms Bisola is the Ogbomosho born Award-winning Nigeria’s first female “Bata” drummer. She explained that the Ayangalu festival essentially celebrates the uniquely significant communicative aspect of Yoruba culture, as manifested in the use of proverbs, which are associated with the sounds of the drums in their various forms and components.

A foremost African female talking drummer, Miss Aralola Olamuyiwa, popularly known as ARA, who was appointed six years ago as the Cultural Ambassador to the Ooni, described African Drum as inherent importance of communication, which is valued by the indigenous African people.

Over 200 drummers and performing groups attended the event, out of which the Ogunjimi Cultural Group from Osogbo came first and got a one million Naira prize.

Ayangbayi Bata came 2nd and got five hundred thousand naira(N500,000), while Esin Oye Cultural group from Ile-Ife came 3rd with Two hundred and fifty thousand naira (N250,000) cash prize.

The dignitaries that graced the occasion include the Olofin Iseri Awori, HRM Oba Adekunle Bamgbade, Apetu of Ipetumodu, HRM Oba (Prof) Olugbenga Oloyede, the Salu of Edunabon, HRM Oba Kehinde Oladepo, the Atta of Ayede-Ekiti, HRM Oba Abdumumini Orisagbemi, the Alara of Araodaye-Ife, HRM Oba Olusegun Layade and Atayero of Aramoko Ekiti, HRH Olusegun Aderemi.

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