Monday, August 26, 2019

Highlights Of The 2019 African Drum Festival In Abeokuta (Photos Courtesy @Safephotography)

The fourth edition of the African Drum Festival in Abeokuta, Ogun State, was once again an epicenter for Africa’s cultural wealth and glamour, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, was a beehive of events as it played host to troupes from within and outside the country. The fourth edition of African Drum Festival, a brainchild of the Ogun State Government, attracted contingents from Europe, about 27 African countries as well as troupes from 26 States of the country and 71 independent performers.

The venue this time was the 10,000-capacity amphitheater at Oke-Ilewo, in the heart of Abeokuta. Filled to its capacity, troupes armed with myriads of drums and artistic costumes, which depicted their ethnicity diversities, took turns displaying superlative cultural performances. The Festival, themed, ‘Drumming The Future,’ also featured the launch of the Ogun Adire logo, with its trade mark, the unveiling of the Kuti’s heritage house and a round table workshop at Olumo Rock. There was also a Train ride, tagged, ‘Rail, Reading and Ride,’ from Iju-Ishaga in Lagos to Lafenwa in Abeokuta and a performance by Seun Kuti, in honour of his father, the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

All images Courtesy of @Safephotography

The presence of top traditional rulers in Yorubaland like the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Areamu Gbadebo among others, equally added glitz and glamour to the event. Among first set of troupes who treated audience to special performances, were participating African countries from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Congo, Uganda, Haiti, Senegal and states in Nigeria, among others.

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In her welcome address, the Festival Chairman and Deputy Governor, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga said the cultural extravaganza has since its inception in 2016, continually enjoyed improvement in its content and creativity. Onanunga said the festival has been nurtured to become “a world-class event.” On his part, Governor Ibikunle Amosun noted that the festival promotes and preserves cultural heritage, assuring that he would use his position as senator in the ninth assembly, to ensure the festival is calendared by the Federal Government, for sustainability. While rolling out initiatives that were added to make this year’s edition unique, the Governor said, the ‘Adire Ogun’ fabric has been patented and unveiled to the world with the celebration of the Ransome Kuti house and legacies. The Nobel laureate and festival’s consultant, Prof. Wole Soyinka, noted that there is a nexus between the ongoing African Drum Festival and the World Poetry Day which was celebrated recently. “There is a strong connection between rhythm and productivity, which awakens deep things in us as humans. The drums help our sense of rhythm and immerse us into our culture,’’ he said. The literary Icon equally labeled contemporary music and dances as “stereotypical,” saying many of them failed to inject traditional rhythm.

At the end of the festival, best performing troupes were recognized. While stakeholders worry about the continuity of the Festival after May 29, the governor-elect, Prince Dapo Abiodun has promised to continue implementation of projects which only have “a clear line sight to uplift Ogun State and benefit the people.”

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