Name: Afaxue Emenornu
Age: 74 years old
Afaxue Emenornu is a village elder and composes traditional music for the Unity Drumming group. He has inherited composing and playing music from his family, and he says that if someone in your family has musical skill then you also have it; otherwise you fail to develop it. The youth today have lack of interest in traditional music and he is scared that the tradition will be lost.
Due to the influence of media, in which young people mostly see western lifestyle portrayed, the youth consider popular culture to be more ‘civilized’ and traditional music as ‘uncivilized’. People who are less educated are more interested in traditional music and practices, and educated people lose interest because they consider themselves to be too “civilized.” The youth are uninterested in traditional, and they look down upon it, according to him.
He thinks that the impact of tourism is positive, since youth come to the realization that people who are western are interested in their traditional music, and they realize that they make a mistake by acting condescendingly towards their tradition. He says that the westerners are more interested in the stylish dances (Gahu etc.) but not the ones where many people dance together like at a funeral.
Afaxue says that the music will get distorted since only a few children participate in the funerals, while the rest listen to more popular music. He regrets that the traditional practices are not taught at any level of schooling. It should be taught so that people value it as being civilized and accept it as their culture, and be proud of it.
He says that presently there’s no impact of development in the village because it isn’t that big and he doesn’t see any major impact of development but perhaps it might in the future.
For Afaxue, all songs are stories, and when composing a song, he ponders about what is going on around him and thinks of any advice he could possible offer. One of the short songs he wrote is as follows:
Devi sue me nye gake nye nu le d me vern unaws kpo le du wo dome
Although I am young, I am hated
So I must be humble for people to like me
Interviewed by Julia Santana-Parrilla, July 2008