Ogbona Community plans musical extravaganza — HRH Chief Wily Uloko Idode

On April 4, His Royal Highness, Chief Willy Uloko Idode, Okphe-Ukpi of Ogbona, celebrated his 60th birthday and nine years on the throne. He called Palace Watch to discuss his people’s plans to mark their bi-annual festival known as the Ogbona Day later this month.

He said: “it is going to be a massive musical extravaganza that will re-awaken our people’s cultural consciousness, especially in the area of music and dance drama. We have long realised that the area we have comparative advantage other than the farming is music.

“In Etsako in particular and Edo State in general, we are known as the music makers. So, we want to take advantage of it. Indeed, it was my resolve that, at 60 and nine years on my ancestral throne, I must provide required leadership to boost my people’s economy.

“Although it is innate in us to make good music, which we use as a weapon to correct the ills in our society, and redirect men’s affairs. But this we have done for several decades purely for personal entertainment during festivities. Now, we have decided to take this a step further, by organising this musical extravaganza that will attract many guests within and outside Edo State to Ogbona.

“During the period the extravaganza will last, our guests will be entertained in a manner they won’t forget in a hurry. We are expecting Edo State government and Federal Government to send representatives and partner with us, in our desire to make Ogbona one of the cultural hubs of Edo State.

“We are taking this step at this particular time in our historical life, because a lot of researchers from within and outside Nigeria have been coming lately to Ogbona to research into our cultural background, especially in the area of Etsako music. These researchers appreciate the unique melody we make in Ogbona, thereby putting the community on the world map.

“Although, we have a lot of musical and dance festivals in Ogbona, the ones we are focusing on during this bi-annual festival include Aigbe Dancing group, which is for both men and women, though women are dominant.

There is also Igberemuen Dancing Group, which literary means ‘I am doing my dance.’ This dancing group is also called “Armi.”

“We shall be showcasing the Ilo Group, which is a masquerade group. Then there is Ibana, the Night Spirit Group, which is mostly performed at night. It is used for entertainment and for enforcement of discipline, law and order in our communities. During the performance, they produce melodious and touching music that pricks the souls of listeners and warn them against all manner of social infraction.

“Izie is another dance we shall be featuring. There is Izie for men and for women. The Izie for men, also known as “Izie Nokhu,” is the dance drama we use when a lady is to be escorted to her husband’s house or for marriage. Izie for women is purely for entertainment.

There is another very interesting dance we shall showcase at the event called Ishokpo, which is known as the hunters dance. There are other dances we would have loved to showcase, but because of education and modern day civilization, some families no longer allow their daughters to participate in them.

“So, we are inviting Edo State Ministry of Culture and Tourism alongside Federal Ministries. Many foreigners will be gracing the occasion. 

“During the forthcoming Easter Festival, we will be holding a conference to finalise plans for the day and immediately after, we shall announce the date for the festival proper.

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