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The Yoruba talking drum is probably the oldest mobile phone on Earth

The Yoruba talking drum is probably the oldest mobile phone on Earth

The Yoruba talking drum is probably the oldest mobile phone on Earth. One of the reasons why the armies of the Oyo Empire were formidable was because they could communicate with each other miles apart with the talking drum. It is not just a musical instrument. It is a language, like a computer language, and only the initiated can understand it. Beyond that, it is almost spiritual. Certainly esoteric.

And in modern times, all Nigerian music superstars that have achieved global cross over success with music of Nigerian origin, became big after incorporating the talking drum into their music. I am not talking of artistes who sing in English or pidgin. I refer to singers and performers who sing wholly or partly in a Nigerian language.

Wizkid exploded in 2011 after featuring the talking drum in his debut studio album, Superstar. And the talking drum based song, Don’t Dull, got to Number One internationally.

Davido has used and continues to use the talking drum generously his albums. And Asake features the talking-drum on his unique sound, as does Burna Boy. There is no need for me to mention how people like King Sunny Ade, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, AKA Alhaji Agba, and Sir Shina Peter, amongst others, have used the talking drum to smile all the way to the bank.

The human senses, especially our audiovisual senses, cannot resist being mesmerised by the rhythm of the talking drum. It grabs you!

I am giving all Nigerian and African artistes ‘expo’. Instead of faking your death, if you want to blow, just record a song featuring the talking drum, and you can call me later. The talking drum was the secret ingredient Shina Peters referred to when he sang, ‘Ibi ta tin modun ye wa. Kole ye won rara o. Kole ye won’ in his hit tune, Ace.

Credit: Reno Omokri

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