Friday, 25 April 2014

REMINISCENCE OF THE TRAVELLING MASQUERADES' GROUP BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

 AMULUDUN  MASQUERADE
A Masquerade

A very long time ago, long in the days of my forefathers, there used to be this masquerade called Amuludun meaning the one that enlivens the village. This masquerade was a magician known throughout the village and beyond. The art of magic was his discipline even though he was a good dancer too. Whenever or wherever Amuludun was performing, the crowd would gather around him to see his magic and dance .And he was a good performer. While performing the art of his magic, good drumming would be going on by the talking drummers and he would be chanting and singing simultaneously. Amuludun would trill the audience by transforming himself to all sorts of animals and transformed back to the real masquerade that he was in the end. 
Masquerade Chiefs & Olalekan Oduntan

And the crowd would not only be applauding, they would be giving out money too in appreciation. After finishing a performance in his village, he and his drummers would move to the neighboring village to perform again. And this is what they would be doing for a period of six months or more touring and performing within the villages that were far and near. After the tour, Amuludun and his crew would come back home with their proceeds to plan ahead for another tour. Meaning, he would learn a new set of magic, new songs and chants, drumming and dances against the next tour. This is where the travelling
Chief of  Masquerades & Olalekan Oduntan
theatre groups emanated from in those days. They all copied what the travelling masquerades like Amulududun were doing to make their business successful. But unfortunately today, some of the practitioners in the movie and theatre industry do not know this brief history. Where am i going? Our culture and tradition should be flaunted at all time to show that we are people with lineage and direction. Preservation and documentation of our ancestral tradition and culture will give our children yet unborn the history and information that they so deserve. No nation becomes great when its cultural norms and values are confronted with extinction. Even though, Amuludun was a masquerade but it is our history and it is where we are coming from.  

THE FUN AND GLAMOUR BEHIND MASQUERADES' FESTIVAL BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

Chief Babatunde Ishola Lasisi Omitowo
 [Otun Baale Orile Shomolu]


Eegun Adakeja
Masquerades are regarded as the beings from heaven and their presence does not only cleanse the land, it also banishes the evil spirits from taking over the entire community which they visit. The masquerade is a deity and a certain time of the year is set aside for its arrival and celebration. Masqueraders are known to be the ones welcoming the masquerades from heaven to the world and they are also behind giving them a good hosting as well as a successful departure. But before the arrival of
masquerades, a lot of preparation must have been put in place concerning eating and drinking because of the invited people who will join in the celebration. People normally come from far and near to attend the festival. Ifa priests are consulted and the instructions from the divination are adhered to strictly. On the celebration's day the masqueraders and the acolytes are ready to escort their different masquerades out.
Other Eegun's
And these masquerades are already given names by which they are identified. Seeing the masquerades displaying is an interesting sight to behold and it is always filled with glamour and aesthetics. Some masquerades are good dancers and their clothes are very colorful. One important thing which the masquerade is good at is visiting people in their homes and praying for them. And people give out their money willingly to appreciate them. Masquerade is appeased with kolanut, Schnapps, a cockerel, bean cake and pap. And women are barred from entering the shrine of the masquerades.


©olalekanoduntan2014.











Thursday, 17 April 2014

OLUBINKIN, THE DEITY OF HERBS, WRITTEN AND TRANSLATED BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN

 Miss Toyin Serifat Gbadamosi [HEALER & HERBS SELLER]
Herbalism is an art of applying roots, backs and leaves of trees to cure all sorts of diseases and ailments. And this art has been the ancestral heritage of Yoruba people for ages. Before civilization from the west, Yoruba people were curing their diseases and
Different powdery herbs in plastics.

ailments effectively with roots, backs and leaves from different trees. The deity of herbs is called OLUBIKIN and he was the first to use leaves to make medicine for mankind. History has it that Orunmila had been hearing about some wonderful things that Olubikin was doing with leaves. Likewise, Olubikin too, hearing about the adventure of Orunmila on IFA. So they decided to meet and exchange their different knowledge and at this point occultism and herbalism merged. Olubikin learned IFA from Orunmila while Orunmila in turn learned the art of medicine making from Olubikin. This brief history is the origin of medicine making all over the world today. There are so many ailments and diseases that orthodox medicine has failed in proffering solutions to but which alternative medicines are travailing in today. Herbs seller like my guest Miss Toyin Serifat Gbadamosi has been in the business for the past
Beads of Ifa
twelve years. And she has been assisting people to cure a lot of ailments and diseases. Diseases like low sperm count, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, barrenness, infertility in men etc. are easy to cure for her. In fact people come from far and near to patronize her. According to her, she normally refers her clients to first of all do the proper diagnosis of their ailments or diseases as the case may be from the hospital before applying the traditional cure on them. And many of such clients become healed or cured of their different diseases and ailments after going back to the hospital to check. Miss Toyin Gbadamosi said government should stop seeing the practitioners of alternative medicine as the clogs in the wheel of the progress of the health sector. She said ever since realizing that treating people of their ailments and diseases with herbs is her calling, there has been no looking back because orthodox
Different leaves from trees
Powdery substances from herbs

Live electric fish
treatment is very expensive in comparison to alternative medicine. She even went further to say that the traditional medicine is cheap and affordable. And the government should allow it to partner side by side with the orthodox treatment. A lot of people are suffering from one ailment or the other today because they do not have money for cure or treatment. But with the assistance and affordability of the herbs, this problem will be a thing of the past. There is a school of thought that says a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Miss Toyin Serifat Gbadamosi says that she enjoys healing people and this is an art that she learned from her grandmother many years ago.




Wednesday, 9 April 2014

DRUMS,THE INSTRUMENTS FOR ALL PURPOSES.


OTUNBA AYANWALE LUKUMONU
Drums are seen and said to be the bringers of happiness or sadness. It all depends on the perspective from which the drum message comes whether during celebration time or sorrowful period. The deity of drums is called Agalu and it is one of two hundred and one deities like Egungun (The Masquerades),Orisa Oko (The Twins), Aje (The Witches) etc. in Yorubaland. Yoruba people are situated in the Western part of Nigeria. Agalu or deity of drums is appeased just like other deities by The drummers known as Ayan to clear their ways and open up business deals for them. The significance of Agalu to other deities is that he is in charge of the entertainment. Just like Orunmila divines to know the sacrifice meant for each deity, Agalu provides music while appeasement is going on. So, spiritually speaking there is a strong musical connection between Agalu and other deities. The story has it that once upon a time there was a man
MR NOFIO THE DRUMMER
 FROM AJASHE BENIN REPUBLIC

called Agalu who was very powerful and nice to all. And anywhere there was an event, his contributions were always on point. This made everyone in the community to like him because of his way of enlivening any event. After a while the man called Agalu died and they buried him in the bush. The tree that grew on the spot he was buried was used to make the first drum. While making the talking drums, Omo tree is used to carve the frame while the antelope skin is used to make the strings (Osan) that make the drums to produce different sounds. White skin made from goat is used in covering the two faces or one face of the drum. Drum making is hereditary or through apprenticeship and the art demands a lot of patience from the makers. Drum
making business booms today because young men and old are participating in the art. Gudugudu is the first drum because it is holding the rhythm and it is the pivot on which other drums rest. Gangan or IYA Ilu makes the loudest of noise and it is used in talking while playing. It is even used in talking proverbs. The next
THE ART OF DRUM MAKING

in line is Kerikeri which is another drum accompanying while the next to that is called Kannango which accompanies like Kerikeri. These four are ensemble of drums that can be used to perform at any event anywhere. And the sound is very rhythmic and unique. In the olden days, drum was used as a medium of communication between the king and the people. It was used to announce the death of someone, to pass the messages to the people, to know the where about of someone, to appease the deities etc. And the impact of drums is still felt in our lives today because nobody can do without them. The deity of drums or Agalu is appeased with Gudugudu put down as the shrine while the appeaser gives Kolanut, Alligator-pepper, Schnapps, Bean-cake and a cockerel as offerings to pave ways for him. The significance of drums cannot be overemphasized because it replaces sadness with joy, dullness with life and hatred with love. 



TRANSLATED AND WRITTEN BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN.
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