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  • Writer's pictureAwo Ifasola Sangobolade


SÈKÈRÈ  The Story behind it….. Sèkèrè belongs to the royal family of the Aláàfin of Old Òyó. The history is as follows: there was a time when Aláàfin and others, were in Ayò-Olópón game contest. The head of Sèkèrè drummer visited them to inform the king about the death of his beloved son. Ológbò and his group made the Sèkèrè with calabash rattles, and put cowries inside it, covered it, they shook it, passing the message that his son just died. He was so engrossed with the savour of the ayò that he began to dance.

It was at this period, that he was verbally informed. He was unable to cry because Sèkèrè had already made him happy but accepted it in good faith. Since this time, it was generally believed that any child of any king that dies, they should not use Sèkèrè to inform the king again i. e.

 “Sèkèrè k ìí ròde ìbánújé” meaning “Sèkèrè is banned from engaging in any sorrowful outing”.  Aláàfin should not mourn. The Oríkì of Sèkèrè is as follows:- "Ajé onírè kò kúkú nírè O lówó bodé Towó towó ni Sèkèrè sùn Towó towó ni Sèkèrè jí Sèkèrè ò sì kí  r òde ìbànújé" Aláàfin Onisile (1742-1750) was of the military disposition with an abundance of courage. Added to the Òyó heritage during the reign was the use of Sèkèrè gourds around which beads were strung and entwined so the rhythmic abrasion would produce splendid melody. Cowries were the seed material before then. In the olden days, they kept Sèkèrè at a corner known as Kòrò Ajé meaning corner of prosperity, but now, people take it to their different rooms.  Aláàfin loves and admires Sèkèrè (rattle gourds). Sèkèrè is the musical instrument that the Aláàfin dance. Sèkèrè came into existence before drum beating.  It is a taboo for any member of Sèkèrè family not to have a Sèkèrè in their house for identification. It is not only this, but also to do annual festival to perform rituals to appease and appreciate the spirit of Sèkèrè for guidance, protection, provisions and gift of life. Furthermore, if anyone does not belong to the family of Alu Sèkèrè, he or she is not entitled to practice it. Sèkèrè is used, during the installation ceremony of kings. Also the presence of Sèkèrè is very important before a king can welcome any important visitor since it is claimed to have spiritual powers in the making. Sèkèrè is used when the king is going for any outing. The Sèkèrè drummers visit the palace once in a month, on every 28 day of the traditional Yorùbá Calendar, which falls always on a Friday (Jàkúta Olóyin) and, they also visit on special invitations by the king in case of emergency. The former Sèkèrè was made by putting cowries inside the calabash, cover it and be shaking it to bring out rhythms, but over time, it was developed upon, using cotton thread to wound the cowries around the calabash.  Sèkèrè People are called Alájé ibodè – The prosperous man at the gate. Sèkèrè is always for the noble. Oyo Palace Archives By Asa Orisa Alaafin Oy

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