The Impact of Dúndùn Drummers on the Development of Traditional Music in South West Nigeria (Published)
The dúndùn ensemble drummers are the coustodians of Yoruba oral repertoire in South West Nigeria. They transmit their skills to younger generation in simple and articulate style. We wish to distinguish specifically the difference in status between the dúndùn ensemble groups at the king’s palace, city square, town hall and the dùndún ensemble groups who perform on the streets and who normally impose themselves on guests at an organized social events in Yoruba land. The court musicians and their counterparts at the city square or town hall are gainfully employed by the king and they are under his pay roll. This group of drummers are practitioners who perform mainly for royalties at an enclosed location called palace. The dùndún street drummers, however, are prolific drummers who perform generally within the circles of the poor, roaming from street to street. They are generally perceived as beggars by those who do not undestand the imortance of the group in the society in which ther reside. They also sometimes perform in the midst of the rich at social events without any invitation. The members of these groups are skilled instrumentalists according to the standard of measurement of artistic excellence in Yoruba land. Nevertheless, they lack the financial stability and social patronage to form a real dance band that promotes classical recordings of their works for a wider public consumption. Sociological and analytical methods of data collection used in the study reveal the societal intolerance of these groups of drummers and the drummers’ wise resistance of this attitude to their performances. The findings reveal that the ensemble drummers though do not get enough patronage are very versatile performers and are promoters of their traditional musical culture. In conclusion, the status of the drummers does not influence the quality of their performances; rather, they are very happy people and also thoroughly groomed as ensemble members whose impact deserves a better recognition and patronage.