Wednesday, 7 May 2014

THE BATA DRUMMER BOY BY OLALEKAN ODUNTAN


THE BATA DRUMMER BOY

Bata drums are known as providing music for deities like Sango (the god of thunder and lightning) and Eegun (the Masqueradessince!e Bata music is very unique and rhythmic. The drums comprising of Omele meta, Eejin, Omele ako, Omele abo and Isaaju. 

All these drums have their different functions in the Bata ensemble. Omele meta is the pivot of the music as it provides basic and constant rhythm on which other drums rest. Next in the line of Bata ensemble is the Eejin drum which is the base drum that goes with the Omele meta. These two drums establish their different and unique rhythms very well before the remaining drums join them. 

The next is Omele Ako which is another rhythm drum that joins in the accompaniment. All these three drums get to relate with one another rhythmically very well before the master of the Bata drum called the Isaaju meaning the leader join in the melodious interaction. At this juncture, the player of the leading Bata drum will start rendering proverbs in between the rhythms of the sound. 

The sound of the lead Bata drum is so noticeable as it dominates and stands out. The player drums with all his energy to put his message across. The Bata music is very ferocious and full of messages of wisdom and proverbs. The dancers of the music too must be agile and strong because it is not the music for the Lilly livered. 

Testimony of this is when the Masquerade festival or the Sango festival is held and Bata drummers are present to grace the occasion. All the Sango devotees will engage themselves in the ferocious dance of Bata music. Likewise the Eegungun devotees too, it is the ferociousness of Bata music that is their way. 

Sango (the god of thunder and lightning) and Eegungun (the Masquerade) as deities enjoy music from the Bata drums from the time immemorial and it has been their music ever since Unfortunately in the world today, Bata drums are used as musical instrument in some other religious musical groups without giving credits to these two deities. 

In conclusion, my point is that our culture and tradition speak volume of who we are as a people. We should be able to identify with them at all times. 

© Olalekan Oduntan 2014.

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