I made this video during the cultural awareness week on the campus of the University of Ibadan in May 2009. The talking drum is a uniquely Yoruba percussion instrument that is peculiar because of its ability to mimic tonal patterns of actual human speech. In this video, I tried to engage the drummer in a little competition of abilities; he on the skill of drumming, and I on the skill of discerning. Enjoy.
I showed it to students in class today, along with some music videos of Lagbaja, once again to illustrate the blend of tradition and modernity in Nigerian contemporary music. I had a reaction to his appearance almost in a similar form to the one I had the first time I showed him in class. My students are supposedly aware of the concept of the masquerade, but apparently, not in this particular shape and form. Let me get back to you after the Mardi Gras, and I’ll let you know what I learn about how American masquerades really look like. I’m guessing that they are not as elaborate, or as “scary”. We also learnt about the concept of Abiku, how different it is from the scientifically verifiable child mortality, and how many children often used it as a weapon against abusive parents.