Accepted Paper:

Music and culture as identity connections and formation: a study of kinship and gender stereotyping in Yoruba music in Nigeria and the diaspora  


Olupemi Oludare (University of Lagos)

Paper short abstract:

This work examines how the musical and cultural functions of songs, instruments and ensembles serve as identity connections and formation in Yoruba music in Nigeria and the diaspora by analyzing the kinship and gender stereotyping in Yoruba music and among African Americans and South Americans

Paper long abstract:

Music in African societies encompasses the totality of their socio-cultural way of life. While it functions as the spiritual gateway for worshiping and communicating with the gods, it also serves the mundane musical and cultural sensibilities of identity connections and formation. These sensibilities, reflected in their ethics and ethos, are substantiated in their kinship and gender stereotype structure. In Yoruba societies, where their traditional music showcases their social structure, the interaction between musical and cultural functionalities and kinship and gender identity is sacrosanct. Each genre have different musical and cultural functions, with kinship and gender association, such as Bata drums for Sango, dundun drum music by the Ayan family, the mother (Iya-ilu), female (omele abo) and male (omele ako) drums and others. These identity connections and formation are exhibited in the numerous musical and cultural festivals in the diaspora, such as the musical performances in the Oyotunji Yoruba village in South Carolina, New Orleans VooDoo traditions in Louisiana, Odunde festival in Philadelphia, Santeria in Cuba, Carnaval in Brazil and so on. This research thus examines how the musical and cultural functionalities in Yoruba music engenders kinship and gender identity in Nigeria and the Diaspora. It engages ethnographic research methodology, with data elicited through observation, interview and bibliographic evidences. The study reveals the process of identity connections and formation in Yoruba music and how it promotes and preserves the importance of kinship and gender Yoruba cultures. It therefore recommends further research in music and culture in African societies and the diaspora.

Panel Art04
Yorùbá culture and music as connections, identity formation and disruptions among African Americans