Thursday 7 January 2016

BATAKOTO - An Appraisal - By KOLA DAOMI (PART 2).

Let me discuss what made the drum called Bata, Bata; it may be Batakoto, or Ijebu Bata or Bata Oyo. This is because the presence of Ida, (a black spot in the middle of the membrane that looks like gum) that made it to be called Bata. Batakoto is made of clay pot with a single membrane spread across the surface, and a wrapped rag tied round with the rope that is glued to the base in order to sit on the ground during performance. 

The sound can be regulated by the strings or thong-like attached round the body of the drum. There is Omele Koto, Atele Ejin and Iyakoto. The Omele Koto is the smallest that supplies the rhythm while Atele Ejin supports the rhythm and the Iyakoto which is the biggest of all which acts as improvisation drum during performance. 

Under classification, Batakoto can be classified as cult musical instrument, medicinal musical instrument and musical instrument used for purification. As earlier discussed, what made Bata - a popular drum in Yoruba land to be known and called Bata either Batakoto or Bata Ijebu is because of Ida, a black spot in the middle of the membrane that looks like gum. Amongst the Bata family, the structure of music produced by all the families are associated with the language of each ethnic group in Yoruba land that use the drum viz the Oyo, the Ekiti's, the Ondo's, the Afonja's or Kwara's e.t.c. 

In addition to their musical functions, they also function as speech surrogates or as signals, and dictate the steps of the dances. Since Batakoto is usually made from clay pot as the main resonant, some scholars beluse that pot usage is synonymous with women in Yoruba land and indeed many parts of Nigeria. Oya a Yoruba deity is a woman, Osun is a woman so also some deities in Yoruba that celebrate their festival with the drum called Batakoto. The membrane that is used for Batakoto is Ijimere which makes the drum more feminine while the membrane used for making Bata Oyo or Sango drum is Ese which makes it masculine. Don't forget Bata Oyo is mainly for Sango, a though ruler of Oyo Empire. 

From the above explanation, one can see the unmistakeable reasons why Batakoto is a female drum. As earlier discussed Batakoto is a great musical instrument used for social and ritual functions with single membrane, it will be pertinent to note that Batakoto also perform other functions e.g. the drum is also used to detect criminals in some areas that had earlier been mentioned. If the criminal refuses to confess his criminal act, he will be attacked by meningitis and die. 

Before the criminal is buried, the family pays some fine to the community so as to cleanse the mess with some rituals and performance with the drum. The music performance of such rituals for example is of simplest type. The musical instruments consist of just a small gong and the three Batakoto drums viz the Omele Koto, Atele Ejin and Iya Koto. The rhythm of the music is monotonous admitting of only a few variations. The study of Batakoto by this scholar shows that Oya a deity in Yoruba land is from Ile-Ira in Kwara State while Osun deity is from Ilesha and Sango another deity is from Oyo. Out of the three deities only Sango stands to be a male and others that use Batakoto are females. Batakoto is another brand of Bata that is different from Bata Sango. 

It is a common belief among the Ijeshas that barren women can appease to Osun for a child with mere drumming Batakoto during Osun festival, because they know that Osun understands the language of drum. 

In performance Bata drum is being slapped on one side with a leather and the other side with hand while Batakoto is beaten with a small stick rod and hand to produce the sound required. Bata is hung during performance while Batakoto sits on the ground during performance. Batakoto is a traditional musical instrument as earlier stated. The musical activities that are always performed by the drum include rites of cult groups such as Osun devotees, worship of the gods, marriages, the ancestral masquerade e.g. masquerade from Eruwa in Oyo State and masquerade from Kwara State that uses improvised beads round their waist called Jigida among the Ibo's. The masquerade is called Eegun-tira: celebration in connection with chieftaincy e.t.c.

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