Ebira Musical Types and the Types of Drums Been Used

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In a living society, tradition is likely to change with time or undergo some evolution. The musical type of ebira is a typical example of such a rapidly changing tradition, the change being accentuated by its oral nature.

Ebira must be the most prolific folk singers in the world: One folk singer may compose and recall over 200 very sonorous songs in one night, Also their ability to recall the songs is unique.

Unfortunately, there are today only very few people alive who can perform many of the Ebira musical plays. I have expressed the desire to document the following ebira musical types and as a means of Preserving them.


Ozomeche: ozomeche originated from Ahe-itutu, Literally a play performed by youths on refuse dumps after a full meal. Ozomeche was also performed during Iyahana- a festival to make the yam season. The musical instruments employed for the play are an oblong one-side wooden drum {Okpo} held between the smaller things. Accompanying this are two smaller drums} Living performer of Ozomeche.

Arigede: This type of musical play was performed during the burial ceremony of elderly women of means. Instruments employed are the sameas for the Ozomeche,Among the Reknown Performers of Arigede were Onize Ozi Otaru Of Okunchi, and Ajayi of Kuroko.

Okono: This musical type was performed by merry makers, particularly when there was a lot to drink. The musical Intrument used is a box Xylophone {Agidibo} accompanied with the clapping of small stones together. the participants {all mens} tie the ends of their loincloths together in along formation. There are very few individuals who still remember the songs of okono and who can demonstrate the play.

Uru: This is similar to Arigede but performed mainly at the burial ceremony of hunters, and on occasion when a hunter catches a big game such as Lion (IDU), Leopard (Ezu), Buffalo (Eya), etc. A well-known Performer of Uru is Ajayi of Kuroko, But several re-known hunters could still perform it. Uru is also performed at the masquerade Parade ground (Orere) during Eche’Ane Festival.

Ogugu: This is related to Arigede, And is performed during the burial ceremony of elderly males of means. when it is performed, for warriors or heroes, a clown (Osamkuru) would feature, Mallam Maliki of ihima, among other artistes, can perform this musical play. Instruments used include the regular Ebira Big drum (Okanga), The Talking Drum (Ugogonyi), The small drum (Obene), The waist drum (Ijabana), Beaded Gourd(Ayihia), Flute (Okokoro), Horn (Opanyi), and the Gong (Use).

Onyimiruweyi: This is performed on the occasion of the death of an elderly woman, to accompany the body to her paternal home. Women perform the Play, But the Drummers are men. Virgin Girls usually Carry Enyiohu on this Occasion. Enyiohu is an arrangement of cowries around a raffia palm bag over which is placed a long red fez cap. it is secretly prepared by a special industry of the deceased. Although the beating of the drums and songs are different form Ogugu, The musical instruments are the same but without the Gong (Use), Many living Female Artistes can Perform this Play.

Ichekene: Ichekene is one of the most contemporary musical plays performed mainly of the EVE (UNEHE) of the Eku’echi Festival. It is also performed at other festivals such as Sallah, birth, marriage, or burial ceremonies. The musical instruments employed in this play are simple. Ichekene, which consists of dried loose seeds of the flame tree, pears, etc, placed in between tightly woven raffia palm fond. Later the beaded gourd (Ayihia) replaced Ichekene, and other instruments like the talking drum, the big drum, flute are included. the famous Ichekene artistes of recent years included Salami Nagazi, Echakata Of Okene, Oduba of Obehira. A living Ichekene artiste is the son of Suke Otu of Okene.

Ikede: Ikede is an offshoot of Ichekene, Created by the Legendary Salawu Ikekere Ozi Ogidi of Usungwe. Ikede is the latest Musical type of Ebiraland as a whole, it is prformed on virtually every occasion, including important annual festivals, Birth, Marriage or burial ceremonies. The instruments Used are the same as in Ichekene, Some of the reknowed artistes of the musical playare Abdulsalami Giwa of Nagazi, Alabi Bello of Ihima, Oduba of Obehira, Isa Ake of Kuroko, Audu Adovojo of Okengwe, Momoh Okasime of Obehira, Ahmadu senior of Okaito, Sule Adeku of Okengwe, Late Ofelele of Eika, Late Sule Ozi Momoh of Okene, Late Isa Eromi of Ihima and late David Itopa of Kuroko

Eche’Ori: This Musical play is performed during Eche’Ori,ie. New Yam Festival: It is observed in ihima and Eganyi districts only. Although the drum beatings and songs are unique, the musical instruments are the same as Ikede. Among the known living performs are Aliyu Onsachi and Isa Enevene: other renowned Eche’Ori artistes were late AUDU ADOMU and late okevere, all of them.

Unehe: This is performed by men during the EVE of Eku’echi and Ebe Festivals, Unehe is also Called Ahe-Obaro, May also be performed by men and women during burial and other Occasion Ceremonies. Prominent among the instruments employed in this musical play is the POT (Anuva,(Eze))-DRUM and two oblong Wooden Toms (Agidibo). Other Instruments are the same as those used in ikede. All the night Masquerades are artistes of Ahe-Oboro was Late Jimoh Ozi Ajayi of Ache, Audu Inorere of Ogaminana and Madama Onyi abara

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