One of the traditional music instrument associated with the Yoruba people is the ‘Bembe‘ drum.
The Yoruba people of Southwest Nigeria are known to be fun-loving; ‘Owambe’ (partying) is an essential part of the people’s lifestyle which includes their dressing, music, language, and so on.
Bembe is an essential part of the Yoruba people‘s music as it is an element of the sound made to get the people off their feet. It is just as important as other local musical instrument used in this part of the world which include, bata drum, sakara drum , agogo, sekere, and so on.
The ‘Bembe’ drum varies in shape; it can be kettle-shaped or bass. It is made of wooden body with the a face at each end which is made of animal skin (awo). The body could be laced with clothing materials which may have a rope to help fasten to the body while drumming.
The drum could be beaten with the hand or with a stick to produce sound. The drummers are referred to as ‘Ayan-galu’.
Bembe is an essential part of Yoruba people’s culture and tradition. It is played during cultural festivals such as coronation of the Oba (monarch), Olojo festival, Iesha Bembe ensemble festival and several other festivals.
This drum that makes rhythmic sounds is also included in Nigerian music genres such as Afrobeat, juju, waka, apala, afro-juju, fuji, and so on. The bands of Yoruba music bands such as King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Ayinla Omowura, and so on aren’t complete without the bembe drum playing it’s part in the orchestra.
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