The popular Fuji musician, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, also known as Kwam 1, has called for concerted action to save the Yoruba Music genre from going extinct.
The 61-year-old Fuji music icon aired his views when he spoke at the 2018 Ariya Repete Roundtable Discourse, which held at Park Inn by Radisson, in Abeokuta, over the weekend.
The Ariya Repete Roundtable Discourse, an initiative of Nigerian Breweries beer brand Goldberg, is a conference dedicated to sustaining the rich heritage of Yoruba music genres, Fuji and Apala as well as discovering new talents.
While making a case for traditional Yoruba music, KWAM said it was high time stakeholders gave Fuji and Juju genres of Yoruba music a direction in order to preserve the language and heritage.
The Fuji musician stated, “I am not happy. How can I be happy when Yoruba language is being threatened? Most Nigerian parents no longer allow their children to speak the Yoruba language. Of course it will affect the music and that’s what we’re seeing now. Interestingly, the advent of technology has begun to take its toll on some of this music; since many of the present-day musicians are not really versed in the language.
“That is why I tell the younger musicians that want to eke out a living playing any Yoruba music and make a name to always make it a point of duty to learn the language and learn it well.”
The keynote speaker at the event, Mr. Kola Adesina of the Department of Mass Communication, Crescent University Abeokuta, also buttressed KWAM’s fears.
He said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has also listed Yoruba as one of the five thousand languages that are facing the danger of being extinct in less than 50 years.
“A method used to check if this is correct is by attempting to speak the language continuously for 10 minutes, without interjecting with foreign words like ‘but, when, because’ and so on. How many people can do this?”, Mr. Adesina asked the startled audience.
Upon listening to the revelation by the University Don, the audience that comprised of music enthusiasts, media practitioners and other musicians such as Wale Thompson and Taiye Currency, attempted to communicate only in Yoruba language for the better part of the event.
In his remarks, Afro Juju musician, Sir Shina Peters revealed that the decline in the fortune of Juju music as well as the increasing popularity of the Fuji music informed his decision to introduce what is now known as ‘fast-tempo Juju music.’
SSP noted, “The younger generation of musicians must be creative and innovative. In fact, my music career would have died a natural death if I had not changed the beat of my music then so it could appeal to the teeming youth population.”
Interestingly, the focus of this year’s discourse was woven around Fuji, Juju and other traditional genres of the Yoruba traditional music. As such, the panelist discussed how today’s technology impacts on the different genres of the Yoruba music.