Upcoming Events

Past Events

1.YDF Maiden Outing in Lagos – Oct 2011

The first performance of Yoruba Drum Festival, with the theme “Yoruba Drums: A Language Technology” was successfully staged on 29th October 2011 at Terra Kulture (Nigerian Cultural Centre), Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. Dr. Tunde Adegbola, Executive Director, African Languages Technology Initiative, in his presentation, demonstrated how drums in Yoruba land goes beyond mere entertainment. The audience was thrilled by electrifying live performances of the following festival ambassadors and their bands: Dabi Ayanlola Kanyinsola, Kaaro Oojiire Cultural Troupeled by Prince Lanre Hannafi, Ayanbinrin and Ayanwola Ayankojo. The performances were rounded off by a 5-year old kid Bata dancer, Segun Soyebo.

The event was graced by His Excellency, Ambassador Segun Olusola,  mni; OFR (Former Nigerian Ambassador & Founder, African Refugees Foundation); Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, OFR  (Former Minister of National Planning); Dr Dolapo Badru, Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Youth &Social Development; Mr Tunde Kelani(foremost filmmaker and cinematographer); Dr Tunde Adegbola (Executive Director, African Languages Technology Initiative); Mr Adejumo Lewis(veteran actor and broadcaster); Prof. Olu Akinyanju OON (Chairman, Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria); Pastor Akinrinade (Director of Administration, Lagos Television);  Mr Dele Osawe(veteran actor) and many others

1.YDF Lagos Public Awareness Show

13th April 2012 @ Yoruba Tennis Club, Lagos, Nigeria


YDF Project Director – Ayodele Ganiu, in his opening speech, presented the goals, purpose and brief history of Yoruba Drum Festival. He recalled how YDF began as a leadership initiative proposal during his participation in ICD Academy for Cultural Diplomacy in 2009 at ICD. The Founder and Director of ICD- Mr Mark C. Donfried welcomed guests to ICD House of Arts and commended the Project Director, YDF team and Egbe Omo Oduduwa Berlin for putting together such a laudable project. He expressed his happiness that the project, inspired by ICD Academy leadership initiative, was pursued and made a reality by an ICD academy alumnus.

The president of Egbe Omo Oduduwa Berlin, Aare Akinola Famson, in his speech, thanked all guests for coming and recognized members of Yoruba communities who travelled from Stuttgart, Hamburg, Hannover, and as far as the Netherlands to participate in the festival.

Official presentation by ICD on the topic “Music as Cultural Diplomacy” was delivered by ICD founder, Mr Mark Donfried who gave an example of how the United States utilized Jazz as a form of cultural diplomacy. It would be recalled that by the 1950s, the United States sent many Jazz musicians on world tours that included the Soviet Union and its satellite states. Prominent Jazz musicians took on the role of “cultural diplomats”. Jazz music played major roles in defining and selling an “American” identity during the cold war.

The Keynote Address of the festival was delivered by Dr Sulaiman Osho from University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom. His paper titled “African Communications System: Exploration of Yoruba Trado Media for Cultural Understanding” provided an in-depth analysis of how African traditional instruments and percussion especially the Yoruba talking drums constitute the world’s most sophisticated means of non-verbal communication. He began his paper with general history, arts and different means of communication of African people and before narrowing it down to Yoruba people of West Africa.

 The Keynote address was followed by a refreshment break which prepared the stage for live demonstrations of Yoruba talking drums. Multilingual power of Yoruba talking drums was demonstrated by Festival- Ambassador Dabi Ayanwola Kanyisola. While facilitating the workshop session, Dabi (a multilinguist) and his talking drum orchestra would speak in a language and render the statements in that language. The rhythms produced by the drums were exactly the same as the spoken statements.

This exercise excited the audience comprising people of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. Each language spoken and rendered with drum statement had at least a native speaker in attendance.

The bata call and response demonstration was anchored by Festival Ambassador-Ayanwola Ayankojo who started with a popular Yoruba folk song titled awiwi wiwi e le o gbo. Surprisingly, the entire members of the Yoruba community in the audience responded by singing lyrics of the folk song with a standing ovation. This exercise triggered interest among non-Yoruba in the audience who all made efforts to learn the song.  

Ayankojo later rendered drum statements of the song with the bata and members of the audience amazingly interpreted each statement by singing them.

The workshop epitomized a platform for intercultural communication and interaction.


Carnival of Cultures is one of world’s greatest and most important cultural events holding every Pentecost weekend in German capital city of Berlin. Carnival of Cultures is regarded as a platform for a proud expression of hybrid cultural identities, containing traditional and contemporary elements. It includes and attracts all age groups, professional artists and people from all walks of life. Carnival of Cultures is of special importance to Berlin’s ethnic communities. They see it as an incentive to reconsider their view on the cultures in their respective countries of origin and define their cultural self-image between two cultures. Carnival of Cultures promotes the awareness for the positive impact made by immigrants on Berlin’s cultural and social life.

On 26th May 2012, YDF Ambassadors performed at the annual carnival. For 90 minutes, over 1 million visitors from around the world were treated to a variety of percussive displays of Yoruba African talking drums. Besides speaking in different languages, YDF Ambassador and multilingual artist/master drummer – Dabi Ayanlola Kanyinsola rendered drum statements in over 10 languages including Yoruba, German, English, French, Spanish, and Japanese thereby attracting accolades from hundreds of thousands of native speakers physically present at the carnival.
The unique style of “Bata” dance was showcased to the world by YDF Ambassador – Ayanwola Ayankojo. His dexterity on stage stimulated the massive crowd to go on a dancing spree. The “Bata” drum created an atmosphere of a global community united by immense fun orchestrated by West African percussion.
 “Ijo Muke”, a percussive musical track created for couples by Dabi Ayanlola Kanyinsola, was the highpoint of the day’s performance. German born African dancer, Birgy Westphal and Taiwo Soyebo showcased the “Muke” dance steps with energy. They were later joined on stage by numerous fans who became excited to do the “Muke’ dance.
The performance was rounded off by collaboration with a well known Ivorian master drummer, Souleymane Toure who sang in Yoruba. His song was a popular Yoruba folk music titled emi o si nbe o, nibi won gbe n sori buruku (I was absent in time of disasters). The global audience was dazzled by YDF ambassadors as they impressively rendered drum statements of the folk song.

Attending festival
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