Nigeria and the Voices album

Oct 13, 2021 | Music Production, News | 0 comments

Thanks to funding from the Arts Council as part of Manchester’s Spirit of Friendship Festival, a parallel event to the Commonwealth Games (2002), Peter Wilkinson and Andy Boothman travelled to Ibadan University in Nigeria, where they were directed to the artists’ cooperative in Osogbo, made famous by the Austrian-Nigerian artist Susanne Wenger, aka Adunni Olorisha (1915 -2009).

Susanne Wenger’s house, Osogbo

Above are some images of the sacred grove for Oshun, the deity of the river, where Susanne Wenger had worked for many years creating
sculptures and protecting the habitat.

From Top Left- Professor Adekola, Nike Davis (artist and adire specialist), Peter Wilkinson, Susanne Wenger, Andy Boothman,
From bottom left – Doyin Talabi Faniyi, Rabiu Ayandokun.

Here they met Susanne, her adopted daughter Doyin, a priestess of the river deity Osun, and musicians Rabiu and Saki Ayandokun. Rabiu is a master bata drummer, his surname tells of his lineage, ‘Ayan’ the deity that resides within the bata drums and ‘dokun’ as big as the ocean. Saki his wife is from a masquerade family and practises the traditional form of praise singing ‘oriki’.

After meeting Rabiu at Susanne Wenger’s house he took us to a clearing on the outskirts of his village Erin Osun where Rabiu’s drumming troupe and Saki’s masquerade dancers put on a demonstration of traditional masquerade ceremony; including some amazing acrobatics.

We were also taken to the village of Oyo, birthplace of the king Shango, deity of thunder and lightning. In one of these huts are the sacred Edun Ara (thunder stones). This is symbolised by the painting of the red axes on the wall.

Together with Oyeyinka Akintayo, a PhD student from Ibadan, Rabiu, Saki and Doyin came to the UK to create theatre with Manchester schools, a project that endured for several years.During this time Rabiu and Saki worked with Old Time Religion to develop music with both English and Yoruba lyrics. They performed shows together including the Royal Northern College of Music and Contact theatre. The culmination of this musical experiment is the “Voices” album which had remained unreleased until now.

Rabiu and Saki in the reccording studio, Manchester, England.