Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Music, , folklores, mores and dances are integral ingredients of Yoruba culture and tradition.
From time immemorial, local singers and drummers have been dishing out melodious tunes to entertain and teach morals in the society.
With the passage of time, however, several genre of music such as Fuji, Juju, Highlife, Apala, Dundun and several others, were invented and infused into Yoruba entertainment circuit. Out of the aforementioned genre of music, Fuji and Juju, remain the only surviving genre, while the others have either passed with time or have been absorbed by stronger genre.
But, with the birth of hip hop music, even the hitherto wave-making Fuji and Juju have faced serious threat as the youths synced with hip hop.
So, to ensure that the core Yoruba music, with its attendant messages of morals and values do not go into extinction, the ancient city of Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, came alive recently, as various cultural drums were rolled out and euphony of traditional songs and folklore followed the procession of local dancers and musicians, who danced and sang to traditional landmark scenes across the city, including the historical Olumo Rock.
The traditional dancing procession, tagged Goldberg Ariya Repete 2018, was powered by Nigerian Breweries. The Season 3 of the famous music road show was specifically designed to sustain and promote traditional Yoruba music and drums, especially Fuji and Juju.
The show which featured roundtable discourse and competition, is expected to relive dying cultural music, especially Fuji and Juju.
Stakeholders in the Nigerian music industry such as music producers, musicians – Fuji and Juju, record label owners, enthusiasts, historians, art reviewers, critics and members of the academia aired their views.
Speaking at the Ogun State edition of Ariya Repete 2018 Roundtable discourse, held at Park Inn by Radisson in Abeokuta, Emmanuel Agu, Portfolio Manager, Mainstream and Stout, Nigerian Breweries, explained that the music event was designed to provide informed thoughts that sustain and promote rich heritage of Fuji and Juju music in Yoruba parlance.
“The roundtable seeks to promote a robust intellectual discourse among key stakeholders in the music industry, including Fuji, Juju and Hip-hop musicians across Yorubaland. This year’s edition will dissect the Yoruba music and how it has impacted and continues to impact on the modern pop culture of Nigerians,” he intoned.
Toeing Agu’s path, Funsho Ayeni, Senior Brand Manager, said, Ariya Repete Roundtable will create an avenue for Fuji and Juju musicians, as well as their fans to discuss ways in which to elevate the genres.
“This edition promises to be another highly-educative conference of stakeholders drawn from the academia, the entertainment industry and the media.
“We are aware that the roundtable has become an important platform for discussing vital aspects of the music and culture of the Yorubas, so we have put everything in place to ensure a successful event.”
Renowned Fuji musician, Wasiu Ayinde, otherwise known as KWAM 1, declared that the evolution of Fuji music was from the traditional Yoruba folklores and real life experiences, which form part and parcel of Yoruba and African people.
He enthused that the genre would remain inseparable from the people of Yorubaland, no matter the level of modernity and development that might have been injected into it.
Ayinde, noted that though some hip hop singers were trying to incorporate Fuji and Juju music in the brand of music they sing, this, according to the multi award winner, had prompted some Fuji and Juju musicians to involve in collaboration with hip hop stars.
KWAM 1, therefore stressed that the significance and relevance of Fuji and Juju music in the context of Yoruba and African lifestyles are inborn and inseparable.
On his own part, Afro Juju maestro, Sir Shina Peters, noted that evolution that had happened to Fuji, Juju and other genre of Yoruba music in recent times, was not to devalue them, but to help achieve enduring acceptance, especially among the youths.
He added that the mixture of Afro beats with Juju music as evident in his songs, was purposely brought about to highlight the melodious rhythms that may come out of local music, if blended with foreign beats such as jazz and calypso.
Adding academic insight to the discourse, the Head, Department of Mass Communication, Crescent University, Abeokuta, Kola Adeshina, said music as a form of entertainment and means of communication, must be used to enhance the socio-cultural development of Yoruba.
He urged the music performers not to relent in their efforts to ensure both Fuji and Juju are preserved and sustained, harping on the need for them to reproduce their oldies, for the young generation to listen to and learn from.
Meanwhile, the duo of JAYWON, a hip hop sensation and MC Murphy, a comedian cum singer, noted that new generation of musicians need to be sensitised on the need to expunge sleaze and lewd lyrics from their songs.