A Socio-religious Analysis of Indigenous Drums in Olojo Festival in the sustenance of the King’s Leadership role among the Ile-ife people

Olusegun Oladosu

 

Abstract

The Yoruba people acknowledge the usage of drum for cultural and religious functions.

These functions also influences the emotional aspect of their beliefs and practices.  Drumming is seen as an action which portrays their identity and life style.  These actions are shown in the acts of celebrations and worships where it plays a significant part in the collective socio-cultural experiences of the people as it reveals the pulse and their inner feelings. It also serves as instrumentation which could enhance the deity and their **adherents to the level of spiritual ecstasy. Among the Yoruba the drum can be identified as holding deeper symbolic and historical meanings as it adds accompaniment for any manner of ceremony –births, deaths, marriages- together with a ritual dance. This usage is embedded with human, natural and spiritual formations which create  leadership value for the people. This work will look at the use of osirigi and agree drums from these formational aspects by analysing usage through semiotic and phenomenological frame works.

Introduction

Festivals in Yorubaland represent the climax of public worship, as they manifest themselves through both oral expression and actions. A festival is at the centre of activities where devotees commit themselves to the care of the òrìṣà[or Youruba divinities]. The devotees also use this period to show their gratitude both in word and dance to the divinities.From invocation to dismissal (Vidal,2012:201), it is noteworthy that communication is indispensible to the interaction that occurs between devotees, the society and the òrìṣà. This communicative interaction includes music and drumming as a mode of enacting a divine worship. The process of enactment requires particular drums to be played for such festival occasions. The effect of the drum is to stimulate ritual activities and also to sensitize worshippers during the stages of trance and frenzied mood attached to the festival activities (Vidal,2012:200).These traditional drums also possesses politico-religious significance which strengthens the leadership authority of the king of Ile-Ife. This paper looks at the socio-religious activities of Yoruba indigenous drums in the Olojo festival and its political value attached to the sacredness of the authority which the king wields over his subjects. The aim of this article will be to look at the major socio-religious importance of the drum among the Ile-Ife people,and the drum’s critical role in maintaining not only the integrity of the sacred performances, but also  the leadership and control enjoyed by the sacred kingship within Ile – Ife society. The festival serves as the vehicle through which to achieve these fundamental objectives. [MORE-PDF]