What Happened at The 2018 African Drum Festival?
For Saturday Fling we have another guest blog post! Let me introduce you to Ovyay, an adventurous soul who loves poetry and photography. In his blog you can follow his artistic side through poems and pictures, but at the same time he also shares one of his greatest desires in life... Africa. He uses travel photography to correct the negative associations concerning Africa. Through pictures you see the true Africa.
Nigeria is one of the country he has explored the most and he shares beautiful moments in these spectacular places with amazing people. His guest post here is about the African Drum Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria. These wonderful images make me want to take the first flight to Nigeria to experience this cultural rich event!
What happened at the 2018 African Drum Festival? Fun, excitement wonderful cultural displays etc. All these and more happened at the 2018 African drum festival. I missed the 2017 edition but made a decision to be at the 2018 edition (19th-21st April) especially when I saw the title- “Drumming for Advancement”.
One thing that needs to be understood concerning drums is that to the African man, a drum is not just an entertainment tool. It’s a signal for many things depending on what sound it gives when the drummer beats it. It can be used to signal the gathering of youths and elders, signal the start of a war, send a message across several villages, announce a celebration etc. This was not going to be an Ogun State affair but a festival of International proportion especially with the first African Nobel laureate Prof WOLE SOYINKA in charge proceedings.
Prof. WOLE SOYINKA
I went straight to the festival grounds at June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta on D day, only to meet a small crowd of people registering, some just coming in etc.
Arrival of “Sangbeto” the traditional voodoo guardians of the night in the Yoruba religion of Benin and Togo.
I felt disappointed. Then it occurred to me that in my rush, I didn’t look at the program schedule to guide my movement. A symposium was being held at another location and there wasn’t going to be any activity at the June 12 stadium till evening.
Ovyay, isn’t finding this amusing at all. Always read the program. (Photo credit – Guzeart Photos)
My disappointment was further worsened when a friend who was supposed to hang around with me sent a message that he wouldn’t be joining me until later in the evening. So what do I do? I took some casual shots just to console myself, sat around for a while but had to leave when the people cleaning and sweeping the arena started their work. Anyway, I returned to the stadium by 4 pm and of course from afar off I could hear sounds telling me action had started.
Passion, energy driving the action.
So who was at the festival ? People came from all over Africa and the diaspora to enjoy this international festival.
The Herbert Ogunde dance troupe was also there.
When your heart is in it, it will show on your face.
Gracefulness mixed with joy. Now, I will not be able to give you a “blow by blow” account on how everything went but just save to say that the Ogun State Government/Governor IBIKUNLE AMOSUN should be applauded for organizing this festival.
His Excellency, Gov. IBIKUNLE AMOSUN
That the governor ignored the lift on day 2 and raced all the way up Olumo rock in his Àgbàdá and down again so impressed me. He is a bundle of good health and energy. Kudos Sir.
Traditional rulers from the West and beyond also graced the occasion. Rulers such as the Alake of Egbaland, Ooni of Ife, Aláàfin of Oyo, Obong of Calabar, Akarigbo of Remo land and many others too numerous to mention. ( Please, I have not listed the names according to any protocol. Kindly pardon me).
If you love colors and costumes this was the place to be. If you love photography don’t miss the 2019 edition. On this one, I shot over 25gig of Raw files.
The lady below was spectacular in her drumming. She reminded me of Ara.
Then the man with the snake.
His name is Lukman, a magician of Yoruba origin. He kept five live snakes in his trousers and later put them in his mouth, wrapped them around his neck etc. The performance of this kids put tears on my eyes. They were so good in their dance drama. Beautiful cuties.
For me, this man (picture below) was a colossus amongst all the performer’s. He exhibited energy, passion, joy, love etc. And he kept that pipe in his mouth to distinguish him from the crowd and add colour to his “stuff”. I looked for him after the program and congratulated him for a wonderful performance. Now I am not saying others didn’t do well, but this man knows his craft.
After the three day event, I left Abeokuta making a mental note of not missing next year’s event God willing.
I also made new friends too such as @thefisayo a fellow blogger whose advice gave me the final push to start this blog.
Kudos also to my new friends at KUTA Nigeria ( an NGO/Art community in Ogun State) where I attended a writing class taught by Blogger/Writer Yinka Elujoba. I must not forget @funmiajala (www.funmiajala.com) who reminded me of the festival date for this year etc.
If you are a tourist to Africa even Nigeria, please don’t miss the drum festival next year. Ogun state does not have security issues, the people are courteous and if you come please don’t miss the “ofada rice” (local rice with very spicy stew) which is a well known Yoruba specialty.
Most of the big guns of Nollywood were also there and it will be difficult to post all their pictures. Saka gave the speech on behalf of the Nollywood group and of course, was his usual funny self. Olu Jacob, Papa Ajasco etc were present too.
It’s time to go.
Kudos to the Ogun State government for organizing this festival for the third year running. My only fear is, “will the next administration continue this festival”? That is a question that only time and Providence can answer. The economy of the state and nation will benefit immensely if this festival is allowed to continue. Just observing around the festival grounds I can just imagine the amount of business that was transacted during the three days of the festival.
I think the advertising needs to be improved so as to attract more foreigners even international tourists.
Security was top notch througho ut the duration of the festival.
If you are planning to attend the next edition especially for photography reasons come with a least a zoom lens may be a 55-300mm range or even a 400mm. Make up your mind also on which to pursue. Photography or videography. And if you can, pursue the two. Good luck as it can get a bit confusing and exciting in deciding which to do when the action starts.
I urge International tourists not to miss the 2019 edition as Africa is not only all about Safaris alone. We are rich in culture, have great landscapes etc. However, book your hotel accommodation in advance to avoid the rush as most hotels especially around the stadium were fully booked. You may reach out to Irinajo_ng (www.irinajo.ng) to help you with your trip organization.
That’s all folks.
See you at the 2019 drum festival where I would be expecting you to join us as we sing.
”Mayo mayo mayo o,
Mayo mayo mayo o,