AYAN DE FIRST AND THE ODUDUWA TAKLING DRUMMERS
This article was compiled by Jodi Phillips May 2014, for the Institute of Black Academics
concerning Black Under achievement.
PUBLISHED 09 MAY 2014 04:26
The Oduduwa Talking Drummers are a multicultural troupe formed by Ayan DeFirst officially known as Ayan Ayandosu that presents the most authentic YORUBA, IBO, and HAUSA music from Nigeria, and a variety of other types of music, Culture and Heritage from other African countries such as Gambia, South Africa, Cote D’ Ivoire, Congo, Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Kenya, Zimbabwe etc.
The group uses mainly Traditional musical instruments such as Talking drums ensemble comprises of Dundun (Iya Ilu), Aguda, Omele Isaaju, Atele, Gudugudu, Djembe, Palongo, Agogo, Sekere, Coral,Tama.
The Oduduwa talking drummers has two Bands
The Talking drum is a unique traditional musical instrument that mimics the voice and synthesizes language. Yoruba are one of major Tribes in Nigeria and Talking Drum is one of their great traditional art forms, which also include door and house-post carving, terracotta works, pottery, cast bronze and Forged iron sculptures.
Talking drum itself is carved from a length of hollowed –out tree trunk and takes about two to make big one (Iya Ilu) and one week for small drum.(Apala /Adamo, Gangan). The rigidity of the hollowed out tree is what gives the instruments unique sound chararcteristics.The drum heads are baby goat or rams skin and are held in place by lengths of tanned antelope or old ram hide, which is particularly elastic and allows wide range of voice-like sounds to be generated.
The Yoruba people are best known for their music and dance especially the communication ability of their talking drums which were used to call people’s names ,speak different languages,or give praise, and were also used in prayer or to recite poetry and or as a means of disseminating News from Royal Family. The Talking drummers were the BBC of the time as there was any means of media then.
Despite all these significances the Talking drummers were still regarded as beggars in Africa and didn’t gain any recognition in the West. This prompted Ayan DeFirst to take his drum troupe from local level to the mainstream for the first time in history.
Talking drums were heard in the West for the first time in the early 1960s when late Chief Duro Ladipo brought some drummers to Europe to perform outside their traditional ritual duties. Before then they had never performed outside their homeland ,partly because of a lack of opportunity or the fear that the Orisha’s (gods and goddesses) would come down to earth and take their souls if they performed outside Yoruba-land.
Then followed by Haruna Ishola, King Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey when they also brought some drummers with them to Europe.
Nowadays Talking Drums are played all round the world as part of all kind of music.
In the late 1990s,a mainstream Talking Drum Troupe was established in London by AYAN DEFIRST (Ayan Ayandosu) for the first time in Europe and history. Initially called Yoruba Talking Drummers then managed by Biyi Adepegba (Joyful Noise), they subsequently became Royal Talking Drummers and finally called Oduduwa Talking Drummers. (Oduduwa is the Ancestor of the Yorubas)
[Source : http://oduduwatalkingdrummers.co.uk/?page_id=2].