Anambra State Cultural Troupe took part in this years edition of the African Drums Festival just ended in Abeokuta, Ogun State. JULIET OJIMA reports the highpoints of the fiesta held under the theme: DRUMING for the FUTURE:
THE sounds of the African drums woke the whole of Africa once again at The African Drums Festival. It is an annual event that started four years ago and has since grown beyond the borders of Nigeria. The festival which brings tourists from the world over to see what Nigeria has got to offer, was a beauty to behold as the multiple colors arrayed the skyline of the city of Abeokuta in Ogun State with fireworks display as the governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun declared the event open. It has become one of the major festivals that bring tourists from the world over to see what Nigeria has got to offer.
The theme for this fourth edition is “DRUMming for the FUTURE”. With this theme in mind, some states and countries that participated in the festival came with children who were talented in the area of drumming. Drumming in Africa has different meanings such as message notification, celebration, mourning… as they all depend on the rhythm of the drums.
The festival, which took off on the April 25 and ended on April,27 2019, had various activities which included a round table discuss on culture, led by Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who is also the Festival Consultant. It was held at the Events Hall of the Olumo Rock Arena. There was also a fashion parade session which was to showcase the rich Adire culture of the Abeokuta people. Stars of the Yoruba movie community were also present to grace the occasion to the admiration of the public. The performances had two locations which were the famous Olumo Rock itself, as well as the new Amphitheatre which has a 10,000 capacity, still under construction within the Abeokuta city centre. There was also the unveiling of the Ransom Kuti Legacy Museum, which was a way of showcasing the famous Ransom Kuti family.
The event at the famous Olumo Rock was an exciting one for both the participants and the audience as the different groups and states were placed at strategic points on the rock while they were asked to play individually before the whole groups played at once.
The African Drum Festival 2019 was a one stop shop for the exhibition of an array of costumes. Performances were staged by states, groups as well as countries which were invited to witness and grace the festival as it celebrates the act of instrumentation i.e. drumming. The festival really had a lot of spectacle as the arrays of contemporary costumes on display as well as traditional attires; it was a smooth blend of the past and present with hope for a more colorful future. There was also a rich display of costume and attires from the different parts of Africa, as well as a rich array of drums and instruments.
So many states attended the festival; countries within Africa, as well as private troupes also graced the occasion. They include Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Ondo, kwara, Ogun, Edo, Nasarawa, Niger, Ekiti, and Lagos amongst others. Countries include Cote D Voire, Ghana, Haiti, Congo, and Benin Republic amongst others. Anambra State was not left out in this event as the states cultural troupe was present to present the Akunechenyi Drum beats and steps to teeming audience. The Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Culture and Tourism of Anambea State, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, was on ground in Abeokuta to cheer on her state, as well as enjoy the festival as she had the previous year.
The high point of the event was the final night when results were announced.Ondo State took the first position, followed by Kwara, which came second, with ogun State coming third.
Special recognition awards were given to artistes from Ogun State for their contribution to the music and entertainment industry. They include; Aruna Ishola, Salawa Abeni, Ebernizer Obe Fabiyi, Hubert Ogunde.
All groups, states, countries were given certificates of participation, as well as plaques. And just a the festival began with an array of bright lights and colors, so was the end of the festival as the city of Abeokuta experienced another display but this time, it is to tell Africans to keep playing their drums till we gather again to experience another gathering of drumbeats.