The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York and the Royal Festival Inc. have celebrated the “Ayan Atayero Festival” (Festival of Drums) to promote the understanding and appreciation of Nigeria’s rich culture and heritage in the US.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the maiden edition of the festival was held at the Nigeria House in New York in collaboration with the House of Oduduwa and the Atayero of Aramoko Kingdom, Ekiti.
The Consul-General, Amb. Lot Egopija, in his remarks said the gathering was aimed at celebrating the timeless tradition of drumming and vibrant Nigerian cultural heritage.
According to him, the Atayero festival holds immense significance and it showcases the power of drums as a universal language.
The envoy said that drums had the ability to transcend barriers and to bring people together regardless of their background and origin.
“The drums talk as you listen to it and they are various interpretation of the rhythm.
“Above all, the kings communicate with their subjects through the instruments of the drums. I will enjoin you to relax as the drums speak to us this night.’’
In his remarks, Olusegun Aderemi, the Atayero of Aramoko Kingdom, Ekiti, defined culture as the generality of the way people live and the way people behave.
“Heritage doesn’t die, heritage lives in the present and the future. We can’t take away our cultural heritage and we cannot add to it.
“The best we can do to our cultural heritage is to manage it.
“Our great culture is rich; our most expensive culture from Nigeria comes from the North, East to the West and down to the South is very rich,’’ he said.
The traditional ruler said the maiden edition of the “Festival of Drums“ would present different ways in which drums communicate and the interpretation of the rhythm.
“Our culture is very rich and our drums are very rich, our singing and dancing are very rich. They are very spiritual to us and very important to us.
“Drum speaks the language we understand; it could be used as a tool for calling and for healing,’’ he said.
Similarly, Olori Folashade Ogunwusi, the wife of the Ooni of Ife, who sent royal greetings from her husband also spoke about the rich heritage of the Yoruba culture, especially the drum festival.
“The Yoruba culture holds great importance as it represents the rich heritage of Yoruba people, an ethnic group, predominantly located in Southwestern Nigeria.
“The culture encompasses various aspects such as language, the art, outfit, the music and the beautiful drums.
“It is the culture that has been passed down through generation, your tradition is considered a heritage because it carries the collective history, values and identity of your community.
“It also provides a sense of belonging and the continuity connecting people together to their ancestors as well,” she said.
According to her, culture has influenced and contributed significantly to the broader African diaspora and the global cultural diversity, making it an essential part of board heritage toda
Also speaking, Edward Mermelstein, New York City’s Commissioner for International Affairs, thanked the Consulate for orgainising the festival, noting that New York City is the host of the largest diplomatic community in the world.
“This festival serves as a testament to the importance of preserving and honoring cultural heritage. It provides a platform for sharing and celebrating the tradition that has been passed down through generations.
“Moreover, the festival is a testament to the strength of our city’s cultural diversity.
“New York City is a melting point of cultures and events like this allow us to appreciate the richness and contribution of each community,’’ he said.
According to him, it is through embracing our differences that we forge stronger bonds and build a more inclusive and harmonious society.
“As we celebrate the festival in the night of drums, let us acknowledge the perseverance of our communities,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the festival, with the theme: Celebrating Our Cultural Heritage,’’ also showcased presentation of drum rhythms, their interpretation and their accompanying dancing steps by Olu-Gan Gan Troupe.
The festival was attended by the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Prof. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, Dr Akil khalfani, Pan African Diaspora Ambassador to the Ooni of Ile-Ife, Olori Abosede Yeyegunwa, Elesi of Ejesi Ife Kingdom as well as Princess Fadakemi Fadojutimi, Managing Director of Ife Grand Resorts and Industrial Hub, among others. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Source: News Agency of Nigeria