Nigeria’s expanding reservoir of dexterity in percussive skills received a boost with the addition of the Korean Janggu drum to their repertoire recently in Lagos.
In the last week of September, children and youths from Ajegunle showcased their skills after learning how to play the Korean traditional drum. Over 20 youths trained in the art of the Janggu Drum displayed their skill in a thrilling performance that wowed the audience.
Janggu (Changgu) is a double-headed drum made of a long tube with both leather ends played with hands and drumsticks.
The training started at the National Theatre, moved to Bariga, Surulere and Ajegunle.
The organiser of the training, Isioma Williams, in his welcome address averred that teaching Nigerian youths to play the Janggu drum should not be misconstrued as promoting a foreign culture, but, instead, should be viewed as a way of enabling Nigerians to learn about the essence and values attached to traditional drums in foreign countries.
Williams said: “Aside from learning how to read and play the drum, it also involves infusing our rhythms with that of foreign countries. There is nothing bad in Nigerians playing Bata drum or Atilogwu or other drums in the country; it is high time youths are educated on how they can play various types of drums. We are losing a lot of rhythms musically in Nigeria because we don’t really know how to rotate them. That is the major reason, I decided to do this.”
Considering their young age, the participants’ performance was commendable, as they were able to read the Korean scripts and played the drum accordingly with a dexterity that could match their counterparts from other parts of the world.
One of the teenagers, Mabel Okeke, spoke of the joy of learning to play Janggu effortlessly, but more importantly, she was delighted with the opportunity to learn and speak the Korean language.
Kenneth Enebeli, patron of Ajegunle Theatre Arts Forum (ATAF), who was fascinated by the performance of the children as they read the rhythm and played the drums at the same time, avowed that “the children did marvellously well,” while expressing satisfaction that the Korean rhythm has been added into Nigeria’s rhythms derived from Bata and other traditional drums.