Basically, drums are generally common feature in all African states, as a matter of fact, African culture appreciation and historical narration are incomplete once the contributions of the indigenous percussion (drum) instrument are omitted, i.e drums are inseparably united with African culture.
Whatsoever event, like the Ogun African Drums Festival, that serves as a platform to bring together all, for the celebration of this ancestral inheritance, is a blissful return to ancestral roots since the infiltration of the western instruments which have seemed to be a threat to drums. However, the various threatening western instruments haven’t been able to surpass the important usage of drums in early ages which surprisingly, has it’s vitality still bursting in this modern age.
Didake l’erin dake, ajanaku le m’efon, says the talking drum.
A foster to co-existence is communication, communication so far has been debated to be the whole reason for man’s existence ‘‘man cannot communicate’’. The fact that drum cuts across territories or tribes have made drum applicable to all forms of communication from interpersonal to extra-personal, public and so on. It’s believed that the voices of the ancestors have been hidden inside tree woods hence, the need to carve out drums from trees in order to talk to and listen to ancestral warnings, advice, talks, and blessings. It possesses innate language through which messages are passed. Drums then are used to pass messages amongst tribes. Declaration of war/battle, competition, meetings, festival announcement, royalty enthronement, and death, etc. Drums talks.
An aspect of man’s living is religion, not just what you believe, but what you practise. In all religion types, spirituality is the aim, they have the power of healing cause drums have supernatural sound which penetrates the body, touch the soul and awakens the spirit. Necessary in religious rites, rituals, accompaniment in God/god’s praises etc. The hearer’s spirit connects to the drummer and the drum which triggers spontaneous reactions, some begin to dance, some can’t stand it and dips hands in their ears and go into trance. Entertainment did not just begin, it has been from ages past. Gatherings to celebrate festivals and other social event is made interesting with the aid of drums. Music is food to the soul, Unarguably, the rhythms and sounds from drums are used in producing music. No doubt, drumming is energizing, a form of exercise for listener, dancer, and drummer.
In those days and now, a respectable vocation is drumming, drumming is made a generational occupation. It is their source of livelihood and is known for it. There are rules regulating the use of drums in Africa, some drums are beaten by selected people, some once a while, some are kept in sacred places, etc, However, drums aren’t just an accompaniment, but a soul to the African communities, Africa’s own instrument with symbolic and historical meaning. It then won’t be a bad idea if African communities declare holidays in celebration of DRUMS.
Written by Abiodun Temitope-Yewande.