I stumbled on a pack of seven albums of a legend called Odolaye Aremu a few weeks ago and my life has never been the same again. The famous exponent of a brand of poetry/music/chant called Dadakuada recorded more than two dozen albums of his brand of art between 1977 and 1990 in Ibadan. He himself is a product of the town of Ilorin. His art spanned decades of politics, religion, social issues, love, lust, feud and music itself, and my first intimations of it must even be earlier than I can even pinpoint, way back to pre-youth, when music was played only on record plates. The reproduction of the albums by the original production company (ORC) in Ibadan for mass distribution in today’s world there is a very welcome development. I’ve particularly had a very pleasant time reconnecting with the curious mix of musical styles hidden within the vein of this particular peculiar art form never since reproduced on this scale by any other indigenous artist before and since the death of Odolaye.
Dadakuada stands in equal stead with Apala, Awurebe, Ijala, amongst many other distinct indigenous styles of musical poetry from the sixties that have all but died off in their original forms. Thanks to digital technology, we still have enough of them now to remind us of the richness of Yoruba poetry, especially of the performance kind that, though commercialized, retained much of their original distinctness.