‘Yoruba oral narratives should not be distorted for selfish gains’
The quarterly cultural flagship programme, Yoruba Lakotun, was held on September 4, 2016, at Ethnic Heritage Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, in a convivial atmosphere. The first anniversary celebration had a heavy dose of talking drum and the beaded gourd (sekere) performances. Their significance as royal musical instruments that elicit excitement at all celebrations came to the fore.
The special guest at the programme and author of Egun Ori Ikunle, Pa Lasunkanmi Tela, spoke about the distortions that have bedevilled Yoruba oral narratives, which he said was being perpetuated by many people for their selfish gains. Such narrative distortions, Tela, noted, which are caused by colonialism and other selfish reasons include Yoruba history, traditions and even the culture.
According to him, “The Yoruba nation should be united since we are all progenitors of Oduduwa. It is unnecessary for people to tweak histories of their communities in order to pursue their selfish ambition because it would mislead a lot of generations after them and engender hatred. The damage done by the colonialists still abounds in the ways in which names of communities and families have been changed to suit their understanding.”
Tela called for the preservation of various Yoruba traditions, which he acknowledged are gradually fading away. These traditions include building reputable family names and legacies, respect for elders, background check of the families before marriage, the dignity of hard work and contentment.
Another interesting feature of the evening was the bata dance masterclass led by the renowned Eesa Egungun chanter and dancer from Oyo town, Mr. Khalid Ayanshina. Ayanshina stated that Yoruba oral chant is a specialist art and is different from other types of chants. Some of the specialist chants are ekun Iyawo, Rara, Ijala among others.
Interestingly, renowned guitarist and folklorist, Edaoto Agbeniyi, was on the bandstand dishing out melodious folk songs to the delight of the audience.Host of the event, Mr. Olutayo Irantiola, dedicated the anniversary edition to Nigeria’s media houses that educate and inform Nigerians about the different cultures in the country. He encouraged the media to carry out investigative research to produce ingenious documentaries that would enhance the knowledge of Nigerians about their immediate environment.
Cultural enthusiasts from all walks of life attended the event. Yoruba Lakotun is a quarterly live audience participatory programme where different creative arts are performed, with an interview session with a Yoruba writer. The host is Olutayo Irantiola.