The Concepts and Contextualization of Incantations in Nigerian Popular Music: Juju Music as Paradigm


Juju music, Incantation, Ọfò, Ògèdè, Àyájọ́, Awọ́rò, Mádàríkàn


The Yoruba people like any other African tribe are enriched with magical and other traditional spiritual powers that are capable of invoking spirits and deities. These powers actualized with incantation as one of the Yoruba oral literature, to achieve a particular spiritual purpose. This paper discusses the concepts and contextualization of incantations by some Nigerian Juju musicians as part of their music in order to highlight various types and their socio-religious roles. Data is collected through primary and secondary sources, and this paper relies on culture change and role theories in musicology as a fulcrum for discourse. The findings revealed that the incantation used in Juju music contains texts requesting spiritual protection, a defensive attack against the enemy, as well as for fame and financial success. Discovered that the incantation performed in spoken verse or song form as prescribed by the spiritualists consulted. This paper concludes that, apart from musicians’ creativity, the culture change witnessed in terms of the use of incantation in juju music in the 1970s, was because of the borrowed creativity influenced by different Yoruba traditional spiritual poetry. This paper, therefore, highlights and documents the phenomenon of incantation as a Yoruba linguistic verbal art in popular music in Nigeria.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Kayode Olusola


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