Tag Archives: initiates

Okanga Royal Drum: The Dance for the Prestige and Initiates Projecting Igbo Traditional Religion through Ovala Festival in Aguleri Cosmolgy (Published)

No literature I have found has discussed the Okanga royal drum and its elements of an ensemble. Elaborate designs and complex compositional ritual functions of the traditional drum are much encountered in the ritual dance culture of the Aguleri people of Igbo origin of South-eastern Nigeria. This paper explores a unique type of drum with mystifying ritual dance in Omambala river basin of the Igbo—its compositional features and specialized indigenous style of dancing. Oral tradition has it that the Okanga drum and its style of dance in which it figures originated in Aguleri – “a farming/fishing Igbo community on Omambala River basin of South-Eastern Nigeria” (Nzewi, 2000:25). It was Eze Akwuba Idigo [Ogalagidi 1] who established the Okanga royal band and popularized the Ovala festival in Igbo land equally. Today, due to that syndrome and philosophy of what I can describe as ‘Igbo Enwe Eze’—Igbo does not have a King, many Igbo traditional rulers attend Aguleri Ovala festival to learn how to organize one in their various communities. The ritual festival of Ovala where the Okanga royal drum features most prominently is a commemoration of ancestor festival which symbolizes kingship and acts as a spiritual conduit that binds or compensates the communities that constitutes Eri kingdom through the mediation for the loss of their contact with their ancestral home and with the built/support in religious rituals and cultural security of their extended brotherhood. It is a three day festival. This festival is usually an occasion for jocundity and thanksgiving; people appear in their best and give of their best. Such occasion serve as a catalyst in cementing people’s solidarity, and in other words making Aguleri as a community of ‘one people – one destiny’

Keywords: ancestors, communion, eri, festival, initiates, ovala