For those of you that dont know, i am half Igbo and half Yoruba. My father is from Abia State while my mom is from Ondo State.
On my father's side, i have lost both grandparents and i dont really know too much about them except for the fact that my grandfather was a proud man and my grandmother was absolutely besotted with her only child - My dad.
This post revolves around my mother's end of the family. My grandfather is a lawyer from Ondo State while my feisty grandmother is Ijesha.
Over the weekend, my grandmother paid us a visit specifically to see me. After her usual preamble, she made me sit in front of her and proceeded to tell me that her father (my great grand father) was a great, legendary drummer. His fame spread far and wide. She told me that the talking drum is a powerful powerful instrument. One that young people cannot appreciate.
This i believe - Has anyone seen Lagbaja perform live with his band? The man that plays the talking drum plays it perfectly. I saw them perform with Earl Klugh at the Muson Jazz festival and it was amazing. The bass guitarist would play a riff and the guy with the talking drum would reproduce the sound. On and on they went till my head felt light and i thought i would weep at the sheer beauty of the sounds surrounding me.
My grandmother proceeded to present me with a talking drum. The stick that came with the drum had its handle wrapped in Aso-Oke. Not the new stuff but the real old Aso-Oke. She said she thought i was old enough to understand what having the drum meant. That all of us "oyibo" children were forgetting things. That i should keep the drum and remember where she came from.
I felt so many things. Regret that i dont understand Yoruba or Igbo as well as i should. Regret that i have never taken the time to ask relevant questions from my grandparents. Pride in my family. For being a mish mash of flavors. A longing to share my history and heritage with everone.
I havent beaten the drum at all. I dont feel worthy. But i have wrapped the drum and stick in Aso-Oke that my grandmother gave me years ago and have placed it in a suitcase. When the time comes, i will unwrap it and let it take its place for display in my home.
I have never felt as much pride to be a Nigerian woman. So here's to our culture and heritage. In our bid to run from Nigeria and her issues,as we become more westernized, let us try not to forget where we come from and what we stand for. A people richer than our surroundings for we have what money cannot buy: Our Heritage.