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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 24, 2014

The Cultural Semantics of Yoruba Drum Poetry

  • Azeez Akinwumi Sesan EMAIL logo
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


The inevitable incursion of modernity and technology in post-colonial African Yoruba societies is rendering the nobility and royalty attached to drum poetry among the ancient Yoruba people irrelevant, as understanding the meaning of drum poetry marks the nobility and royal inclination of the decipherer. This article reviews previous studies on drum poetry/literature with participant observation/field investigation used in the collection of data. It taxonomizes drum poetry into sacred and secular. It also draws comparisons to and finds similarities with how humans and drums communicate. This paper arrives at the conclusion that tone and tonal marks within situational contexts are the hallmarks of the semantic interpretation of drum poetry

Published Online: 2014-9-24
Published in Print: 2014-10-1

© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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