Loud in Canada with Drum Festival
Recently, the city of Mississauga in Ontario, Canada, woke up to loud belching of African drums, as it hosted the maiden Drum Festival (Ayan-Agalu).
Organised by Drum Online Media Incorporation, the fiesta, which was was attended by government functionaries, royal fathers, political and religious leaders, culture enthusiasts, tourists, fun seekers and journalists, had a massive turnout of guests from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
The festival was a celebration of the African drum ensemble and the performative.
Dance groups and drummers from Brazil, Iran, Uganda, Kenya and Nigerian community in Canada performed to the admiration of culture enthusiasts.
In his welcome address, Publisher of the Drum Online Media Incorporation and organiser of the festival (Ayan-Agalu) Festival, Prince Segun Akanni, said the event could not have come up at a better time and moment given the avalanche of social, economic, political and religious challenges plaguing Africa as a continent.
In his words: “There can be no gainsaying that the festival’s theme ‘Rejigging Yoruba Cultural Heritage as Catalyst for National and International Unity, Progress and Development- The Ayan-Agalu Example’ is not only apt, but timely, given the legion of cultural erosion and neglect of core societal values that pervade Africa, especially the Yoruba of South West Nigeria.”
He added: “Celebrating culture through drums reinforces our collective desire and zeal to rejuvenate our moribund cultural heritages.”
Akanni said, “my involvement in the preservation, restoration and promotion of Africa’s cultural heritage and values date back to over 20 years, an exploit which has taken me to over 30 countries of the world.”
Speaking on the festival, Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, commended Prince Segun Akanni for his hardwork and commitment to the cultural exchange.
He said Canada is truly a multicultural nation, made stronger and more resilient by diversity.
“The festival offers a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the richness, beauty and diversity of African and Nigerian culture, and highlights many contributions that Canadians of African descent have made and continue to make our country in all fields of endeavour,” he added.
Premier of Ontario (Premier Ministre de Ontario), Doug Ford, said, “Ontario is proud to be home to a vibrant African and Nigerian population. This festival is an opportunity for Ontarians to celebrate the many contributions these communities have made to the cultural and economic fabric of our province. I thank The Drum Online for organising this event, and for everything you do to keep African communities connected and informed.”
The Nigeria High Commissioner to Canada, Adeyinka Asekun, said, “I am very pleased with your initiative to convene the inaugural Drum Festival aimed at promoting the prestigious culture of the Yoruba from Southern part of Nigeria. Cultural diplomacy is a cardinal aspect of Nigeria’s foreign policy and a very key area of focus of the Nigeria High Commission In Ottawa. To this end, we are therefore glad to confirm our support for this event.”
Also speaking at the event, Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State said: “I am indeed proud of the organiser and his team for this noble and legendary initiative aimed at revamping our indigenous tradition and culture from a state of near oblivion to a realm of global pedestal of fame, relevance and glory.”
Equally speaking, His Royal Majesty, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, Ooni of Ife, said, “The Drum Festival has its root in the kingdom of Ife, South Western Nigeria and is a symbolic presentation of our culture, particularly, in relation to our social live, religion, monarchy and other core aspects of our existence. I hereby congratulate my son, who is the convener of this initiative, Prince Segun Akanni and his team for their efforts in celebrating the prestigious Yoruba and indeed African culture.”
The Mayor Of Brampton, Patrick Brown, commended the efforts of the convener, Prince Segun Akanni for his legendary initiative. He said the Yoruba race is, undoubtedly, one of the most endowed races replete with rich and prestigious traditions and culture in the world today.
Prof Adekunle Adeogun Okunoye, Eburu of Iba, Osun State and guest speaker in his paper presentation on the theme of the festival said, “Reinventing the art of drumming may mean the revival of the profession in Yoruba society, the enhancement of the dignity of the practitioners, and the documentation of the drumming tradition in films for future scholarly studies.”
The Olota of Otta, Prof Adeyemi Abdulkabir Obalanlege, commended the organizer for showcasing Africa’s cultural products. “I really admired how you have organized yourself, your resilience, and your untiring efforts to deliver this noble project,” he said.
Former Canadian Minister of Immigration and Secretary of State of Canada, Gerry Weiner, said this cultural convergence would further reinforce and solidify the cultural relationship between Nigeria and Canada while also ensuring that both countries maintain and sustain the solidarity that the festival has the potential of establishing.
One of the convener’s daughters, Olajire Grace Akanni, told the gathering that drums should be played to children, because it helps them reduce stress and makes them smarter. “Drumming is physically intense for kids but it helps burn calories in 30 minutes of play and dancing to its rhythm. Also When kids learn how to play the drum, it helps them not to be bored and it is very easy to learn.”
Some of the awardees include Governor Adeleke and Elegushi of Ikate-Elegushi Kingdoms, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi.
Others are Weiner, Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Adebo Edward Ogundoyin; Publisher, Ovation International Magazine, Dele Momodu and Director General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Nura Sani Kangiwa.
A post-humous award was also given to the late Chief Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi, Founder, DAAR Communication.
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