The 4th edition of the African Drum Festival was held at Abeokuta’s 10,000 seater capacity amphitheatre in Ogun State, Nigeria. The three-day show, which is an initiative of the Ogun State Government is designed to promote Africa’s drum culture.
It was also used to display their rich cultural heritage while harnessing the various techniques of drumming as well as unifying Africans through drums.
The event, which partnered literary giant Wole Soyinka who is also a native of Ogun State, featured iconic drummers across the continent. Drummers from Tunisia, Morocco, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Algeria, Senegal, Uganda, Congo, Kenya and many other regions gathered in Nigeria, BBC reports.
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Drums in African societies are an integral part of celebrations. From naming ceremonies to funerals, drums have been used as the main instrument for generating music in the African culture. Its importance in the socio-cultural life of Africans cannot be overemphasized. It is a prehistoric instrument that has featured in the many celebrations of varied aspects of life.
In the African society, drums do more than just provide music or entertain people. It is an important cultural symbol that has been used to communicate a lot of happenings. The talking drum, for instance, was used by tribes to communicate among themselves in ancient times. It was used to transmit messages sometimes across great distances. It has been used as a harbinger to indicate among other things, birth, death, social and political events, marriage, a call for ancestral spirits and have also been used to accompany religious rites and rituals.
Among the Wolof tribe in the Senegambia region, their Tama and Tarran Bat drums are used to tell stories. When the drums are being played during ceremonies, men and woman dance and sing along to retell the stories of their ancestors.
Also among the Mandinka tribe whose people are found in Mali, Senegambia, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the drums ‘Sabaro’ ‘Kutriba’ and ‘Kutrinding’ play an important role in their culture. The sound from these drums do not only calm their nerves, it leads some of them into a trance as noted among some people in the Gambia, indicating that drums are rooted in African spirituality too.
In some cases, they are used to assemble people for war. They symbolize and protect royals. Among the Banyankore tribe of Uganda, a prince would never lay claim to kingship without the royal drums and among the Baganda people, also a Bantu ethnic group in Uganda, the Ngoma drum also serves as a symbol of authority.
The continent’s love for drums has culminated in the celebration of the African Drum festival, which is reputed to be one of the most revolutionary cultural shows in Africa.
Take a look at some photos from the African Drum Festival below: