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Kirby Wilkerson

1/30/2024

continental drift 12/4/23 - nigeria

Welcome to Continental Drift, folks! In this episode, we’re gonna drift to Nigeria! You can find the playlist here and listen to the episode here!

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a West African country bordered by Niger to the north, Chad to the northeast, Cameroon to the east, and Benin in the west, with its southern boundary formed by the Gulf of Guinea. Its capital is Abuja, and with a population of over 210 million people, it is the 6th most populous country and the most populous African country. Its official language is English, but of over 525 regional languages spoken in the country, it nationally recognizes Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo, which are spoken by the three largest of over 250 Nigerian ethnic groups. 

The first track of the episode is some traditional Yoruba drum music. This is music with a drum called a dundun, which is a Yoruba word for the talking drum; basically, you have a drum where you can adjust the tightness of the head so you can change its pitch, and it’s really cool because it’s meant to mimic the tonality of the spoken Yoruba language. Hence it’s called a talking drum. Pretty nifty!

Folk Music

Yoruba: Dundun Drums // Unspecified Yoruba Drummers

Hausa: Abdulkadiri Kwori - Hausa / Nigeria // Dan Titi Ensemble

Igbo: Ayoyo Nobi Egu // Ogene Udo Group

In the Igbo track from this past segment, there's an instrument called an ogene, which is a very prominent instrument in Igbo music; it's a type of metal bell, the one you can hear in the track is like a cowbell almost, but there are a number of different types of ogene. The name of the genre that track belongs to is also called ogene; as you can imagine, this is because the ogene is central to the genre.

Moving on, after the end of World War 2, in the 60s, a bunch of Igbo artists adopted the Ghanaian genre of highlife, mixing it with Igbo traditional music practices and popularizing highlife in Nigeria. The first track in this next segment is Yoruba highlife, but later on there's some Igbo highlife, and you can sort of see the difference in character between Igbo highlife and the other kinds you'll be seeing; pay attention to the underlying percussion to see similarities between ogene and Igbo highlife!

Highlife

Abeni // Nigerian Union Rhythm Group

Fela's Special // Fela Kuti and the Highlife Rakers

Ndi Amana N'Enuwa // Chief Dr. Oliver De Coque

Yoruba percussion music gave rise to a particular form of popular music in the 1920s called juju, which is centered around the talking drum. Over the first half of the 20th century, it gained popularity and incorporated new musical influences and instruments.

Juju

Omoba Sijuade/Moti Wa E (Juju Yoruba) // Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey

Maajo // King Sunny Ade

Next up, we're lookin' at Afrobeat. In the 60s, Fela Kuti (remember him from the highlife segment?) pioneered the genre that would become Afrobeat, which is like this melting pot of a genre that takes influences from things like jazz, soul, and funk, but also from natively African music styles like highlife or Igbo and Yoruba traditional music. Also, to be clear, Afrobeat is not to be confused with Afrobeats, with an s at the end. The two, though related, are distinct, and this episode does involve some Afrobeats later, but this next segment is not Afrobeats.

Afrobeat

Konko Below // Lagbaja

You Can Run // Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80

Now for Afrobeats. So, Afrobeats is a more recent genre. It's a broad category of music; as the similarity in names might imply, it does take influence from Afrobeat, but also it takes heavy influence from Western pop music. Other influences are more or less up to the artist; for instance, the first song in this segment takes influence from Igbo traditional music because the artist is an Igbo musician.

Afrobeats with an s at the end

Berna Reloaded // Flavour, Fally Ipupa, Diamond Platnumz

Ojuelegba // Wizkid

That about does it for the main show! One last track though, because I had the time to include it:

Last Song Because I Can

African Soldier // Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80