Ooni at Ayangalu 2022


By: Otunba Moses Olafare, Director, Media & Public Affairs, Ooni’s Palace, Ile-Ife
(reproduced and edited with permission by Yoruba Cultural Center Dallas)

Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife and Arole Oduduwa Olofin Adimula, displayed his talent as a drummer when he dazzled participants at the closing session of the annual Ayangalu Drum Festival in Ile-Ife. The Ooni took up the iconic Yoruba talking drum, the IYA ILU which he beat for peace and tranquility in Nigeria and worldwide. Ayan-Agalu is a major cultural festival held annually in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, the cradle and spiritual center of the Oduduwa race in celebration of the uniqueness and craftsmanship of Ayan Agalu, the Yoruba deity associated with drums and celebrations.

While speaking at this festival from the OJAJA ARENA on Wed, June 28, 2022, the Ooni described drumming as a vital tool for communicating peaceful coexistence globally. He also revealed the historical fact that the Oduduwa race was the first tribe in the world to beat the talking drum.

“During the Ayangalu Festival in Ile-Ife, we remember our ancestors,” said the Ooni. The monarch explained that Ayangalu came into existence on earth next to Oduduwa at Atiba in Ile-Ife. I was from this same place that Oranmiyan moved away to found Oyo Kingdom. Since that time, Atiba has remained the hub of traditional drummers in Ile-Ife. The Ooni also emphasized Orunmila’s role as first deity to decode the meaning of the talking drum.

“Our ancestors used drums for communication. Going beyond mere entertainment, the Yoruba people use the talking drum as a vital tool for preaching peace and harmony..

At the ceremony, the Ayangalu Ambassador, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, commended the Ooni for celebrating the female deities and heroines of Yorubaland such as Moremi, Olokun, Osun, Osara and Ayan-Agalu. Ademiluyi explained that Ayan-Agalu is a patron deity of drumming who deserves to be celebrated. She lauded the Ooni for championing gender equality by letting the whole world know about Ayan-Agalu, a female deity.

Ms Ayoola Ibukun Bisola, popularly known as Bisola Omoge Bata, who was the Official Face Of Ayan-Agalu Festival 2022, expressed her gratitude to the Ooni for making her the Face of the Festival. “Let me start by thanking my father, the Ooni of Ife, who found me worthy to be the Face of this Ayan-Agalu Festival. I also thank our team leader and ambassador, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi for her leadership, May I enjoin our people in Nigeria and Africa to show interest in our unique drumming traditions so that the legacy of our ancestors will be preserved,” Omoge Bata said.

Also gracing the occasion was the foremost female talking drummer in Africa, Aralola Olamuyiwa, popularly known as ARA, who, six years ago was appointed a Cultural Ambassador by the Ooni. Her opinion was that every sound produced by the drum is a form of art with a beauty that motivates happiness and lasting excitement in African people. “Ayan is popularly described as the drumming spirit. Anywhere we hear the sound of the talking drum, we know that Ayan, the Orisa of Drum and Music is around to give us happiness and lasting excitement.” Ara said.

This just concluded 2-day drum festival lasted from Wednesday 29th to Thursday 30th June 2022 with over 200 drummers and performing groups entertaining the large crowd. The Olofin Iseri Awori, HRM Oba Adekunle Bamgbade, Apetu of Ipetumodu, HRM Oba(Prof) Olugbenga Oloyede, the Salu of Edunabon, HRM Oba Kehinde Oladepo, the Atta of Ayede-Ekiti, HRM Oba Abdumumini Orisagbemi, the Alara of Araodaye-Ife, HRM Oba Olusegun Layade and Atayero of Aramoko Ekiti, HRH Olusegun Aderemi were among traditional rulers and dignitaries who graced the occasion. At the end of the festival, the organizer revealed that over 200 children would be trained at a planned drum workshop in the spirit of Ayan-Agalu.


An inside look at the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Lekki, Lagos. Prince Yemisi Shyllon is the first Patron of the Yoruba Culture Center Dallas. His vision of promoting the fine arts and culture of African people including the Yorubas, is in line with the goals and mission of the Yoruba Cultural Center and its groundbreaking Yoruba Art and Heritage Museum.

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