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The Drummer King

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.

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

Read also: Anger

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!

©Biade Fola

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