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Date: April 03, 2020, 05:29:02 PM


Classical Ogene “Concerto” Undiluted: The Best of Igbo Classical Music: Culture : - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum


Classical Ogene “Concerto” Undiluted: The Best of Igbo Classical Music

By: dayan (M) |Time : March 11, 2020, 06:55:37 PM
A typical classical music is dominated by one lead instrument. In European classical music, most times the lead instrument may be a “wind instrument” such as trumpet, Oboe, Clarinet, or Flute.
It may also be led by “string instruments” such as Violin, Mandolin, Harp, Guitar, Cello, Banjo, Viola , Ukulele (for US side) etc. 

In Igbo classical music, the lead instrument can be the Ogene (a twin metal gong), Aro (a big long single metal gong), Oja (the Igbo flute), Igba (the side drum), Ichaka (the beaded gourd), Udu (the big hollow clay pot), or Ekwe (the hollowed wooden gong) etc.

A few times, the Igbo classical music composition does not really discriminate instruments; they may all be “leading” at the same time. But in definite instances, particularly as may be peculiar to parts of Igboland, a lead instrument is clearly identifiable.

The performance in this video is an excellent example of an Ogene led music, supported by “oratorio” (Igbo style). This Ogene is straight from Awka, Anambra State of Nigeria, a town FAMOUS for its Ogene preeminence in Igboland.

Even Ogene performers from neighboring Enugu state would concede that “Kama Awka ga akwusi Ogene, olu oyibo anaa!” (instead of Awka people to do away with the Ogene, “white man’s job”, i.e. civil service, would end!).

What makes this “Ogene Awka” performance here nearly flawless is the interaction between the two Ogenes played by two Ogene maestros in this performance.

The Ogene man seated to the left is the leader of the music, while the Ogene man to the right is playing supporting role.

What is amazing about this performance (and others like it) is that the musics are never written down anywhere. The core of it is memorized by the members of the group, and the lead instrument players are led essentially “by the spirit”.

Igbo music is spiritual music, and cannot really be written down due to its complexities and intricacies. The performance assumes a life of its own, and the players are possessed by the spirit of the music (or the ancestors) to deliver superior performance!

Notice that when the performance got about halfway (from 8:27 - 12:04 ), the lead Ogene changes and delivers unbelievable consistency and creativity even as the player sang the assisting song! Excellent hand and voice coordination without the use of the metronome!

To the uninitiated it may sound a bit monotonous, but you notice that once you finish listening to it, you find yourself going back over and over to listen to it again.
That is the spiritual side of the music.

So, listen to the music in full, but focus your attention on the interaction between the two Ogene maestros as they deliver flawless strokes of the metal gong.



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