World Music Exploration - Traditional Dance Music from Nigeria

When I chose this month's musical destination back in the summer, I assumed we would be in the middle of a cold snap. For the most part, we have been enjoying a rather mild winter in Alberta.


We are exploring Nigeria this month. According to Wikipedia, "Nigeria has been called "the heart of African music" because of its role in the development of West African highlife and palm-wine music, which fuses native rhythms with techniques imported from the Congo for the development of several popular styles that were unique to Nigeria, like apala, fuji, jùjú, highlife, and Yo-pop."  After listening to some music from Nigeria, put on some hip hop or reggae. You'll probably notice some similarities.


There are over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria. Each group has a distinct style of music. Some of their songs are works songs and some are based on epic poetry. Many of their songs have a call and response form. They use mainly percussion instruments plus voice.


This clip features three dances:


  1. Yoruba: uses the dundun hourglass tension drums
  2. Hausa: call and response song uses the Arabic scale and is played on a one-stringed goje
  3. Igbo: known for incorporating foreign styles,. Instruments used include the 13-stringed zither, called an obo., slit drums, xylophones, flutes, lyres, udus and lutes and European brass instruments.

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