Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, will come alive from Thursday, April 19 through Saturday, April 21, as drummers from 20 African countries and many states of the federation will participate in the third edition of the African Drum Festival 2018. The festival, introduced by Governor Ibikunle Amosun-led administration in 2016, is aimed at showcasing Africa’s drum culture. Last year’s edition attracted 14 African countries.
The theme of the festival is ‘Drumming to Advancement,’ with sub-theme, ‘Drumming for Socio-Economic Development.’
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, is one of the prominent personalities who will feature in this year’s festival. Also, a 91-year old drummer and a teenage drummer are among those who have confirmed their participation.
Soyinka, who spoke through his representative, Mr. Jahman Anikulapo, at the ceremony where the festival logo was unveiled, stated, “Drum is not only for entertainment, it’s also used for cultural and socio-economic promotion. Drums and drumming are important features of the African culture that cuts across all strata of the continent. “There is nowhere that you don’t have one type of drum or the other on the African continent and if we are to revive our ideals and ideas as a continent, we must start with a culture that cuts across, which is drumming.”
Before he unveiled the festival logo, Amosun assured that his government had fixed the third week of April of every year to hold the festival. According to him, this year’s festival would be spiced with a workshop and an exhibition.
In his words: “The festival will not just be centralised; we will be going to other Senatorial Districts and other states. This time around, we will spice it up with workshop and exhibition. We will also be having giants who are lovers of culture at the festival; we should not have anything less. We are Africans and the African Drums Festival is to showcase the beauty of our cultures. It will also reawaken the consciousness in our people that Africa is great.
“In 2017 there were about 14 African countries that came. This time around, many more are coming; we will be looking at about 36 states that will participate and more than 20 African nations will be joining us. We are happy this is happening in our own state.
“I saw a little girl recently playing the talking drum; she knew how to play it very well using her left hand and I have ordered that she should be allowed to perform at the festival.”
Apart from the 20 African countries that have confirmed their participation, Amosun said Jamaica, Cuba, and other non-Africa countries have indicated interest to participate.
The festival, unlike previous editions, will be marked with a lot of activities among which are a conference, a workshop and an exhibition at the historic Olumo Rock, Abeokuta. Soyinka said measures had been taken to add intellectual flavour to the character of the festival.
“The main objective is to begin to position the festival as a tool for education, socialisation, cultural and economic advancement,” he said through his spokesperson.
Among the resource persons for the conference and workshop are Sylvanus Kwashie Kuwor, a master drummer, music and dance practitioner and lecturer at University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Lolu Akins Akintobi, Nigerian musician, author, composer, and consultant of international repute and Tunde Adebola, a research scientist, consulting engineer and culture activist.
The planned workshop is aimed at impacting knowledge on the various techniques of drumming, especially on the young ones.