There was no shortage of drum beats to keep feet tapping, hips moving and heads bopping during the 3rd African Drum Festival held in Abeokuta, Ogun State from April 19 – 21.
With more than 100 troupes and groups present to perform at the festival and the presence of several traditional rulers, the essence of drums in African culture was duly highlighted.
Be it a wedding, a funeral, meeting or a naming ceremony, drums are hardly ever absent during events that mark the life of any African, several speakers explained during the event, which was attended by thousands of participants at the rhythmic festival.
Nightly, dancers and drummers took to the stage showcasing their drumming prowess on drums of different shapes, sizes and varying cultural significance. Also prominent were intricately designed cultural attires from the north, east, south west, Middle belt regions of Nigeria and neighboring countries.
Performers took the vibrant audience through drum rendition from different parts of Nigeria, Africa and the diaspora.
Among highlights from the festival were presentations from the Footprints of David, a group of young dancers and drummers who thrilled the spectators on first night of the festival.
On April 20th, participants were treated to a symposium hosted by Nobel-Prize Winning Author and play wright, Professor Wole Soyinka at Olomo Rock, one of Ogun State’s famous natural attractions.
Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, was credited for incubating and bringing to life the vision for the festival, which showcases, Ogun State’s rich drum culture.
The importance of this culture was echoed by Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi II, Alaafin of Oyo.
“Every morning, at 5 a.m. drums wake up Yoruba kings and always remind them of oaths they took to serve the people at all times unlike politicians who don’t have anything to remind them of their pledges to the people who put them in power,” the Alaafin was quoted.
The importance of drums also crossed over into tourism, said Ooni of Ife, His Majesty, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwisi.
“The African Drums Festival is a tourism haven and a boost to our unity as people in Yorubaland and Nigeria in particular,” said the traditional ruler. “Drums have continued to unite and add glamour to our lifestyle from time immemorial. … I am glad at what I am seeing here today.”