Oba John Adetoyese Laoye joined his ancestors on May 16, 1975. Forty Four years ago but the art for which he was known still reigns supreme. This is an ode to the drummer king.
The Drummer King
Beasts do have voices too
Their voices sing from tombs, and put dancing shoes to work
My forefathers hunted beasts for feasts
They made music from skins of dead beasts
They eased tensions by pulling tension cords and flogging drumheads
They bubbled out melodies and resurrected dead gatherings
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My forefather was a king, but his hands never stopped aching
Unless he caressed the curve drum stick
My king was the master, his music was the piece
We had a palace of masterpiece
Words visited London in a ferry and tickled the Queen’s fancy,
Elizabeth threw the Royal band out of view in 1965.
Her majesty took a walk with suave African royalty,
My king’s drum completed the triangle!
Oba Laoye midwifed artistic bubbles at Buckingham.
My king manhandled the animal skin,
And made Oliver Twists out of his audience, always coming for more!
Oba Laoye was not an artist, he was the art!
The drummer king, the teacher king, the Kentucky colonel!
My king traveled the world with is drum,
And left his prints on the maps and in university books.
My forefather raised the drumming bar, he took our art to the world.
Oba Laoye left his throne in Ede to entertain the Almighty in 1975
Uncle Wale and co embraced the drums
Modern music reminds me of my forefathers
They created voice and music from the skins of dead beasts!