Gbedu as a Musical Genre in the Palace of the Oba of Lagos

Atundaolu, Olatunbosun Samuel (2015-04-16)


The study examined gbedu as an instrumental musical genre, its origin and its functions in all its ramifications in the palace of the Oba of Lagos. This was with a view to revealing its significance as a ceremonial music in the palace of the king. This study relied immensely on oral tradition, observation and participation, as its primary source of information. Three traditional chiefs (Bajulu of Lagos, Obanikoro of Lagos and Ashogbon of Lagos), a retired gbedu artiste, two court musicians who played igbe and dundun-sekere at the palace of the Oba of Lagos, and three practicing gbedu artistes on Lagos Island were interviewed on the origin and historical background of gbedu music. Secondary material on the subject matter was consulted in the library, archives and Internet. Performances of the music were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed, using ethnomusicological theory. The findings showed that gbedu music was brought from Benin to Lagos to symbolized royalty, and could also represent the Oba of Lagos just like his staff of office. Gbedu played a significant role on ceremonial occasions and was used to welcome important dignitaries and entertain them in the king's courtyard. It aIso featured in rituals, festivals and celebrations. However, it was not devoted to any god. It was revealed that, in spite of the enormous influence of Western cultural values on the Yoruba way of life, gbedu music had been able to maintain its continuous stability and originality as part of the musical heritage in the palace of the Oba of Lagos. The study concluded that gbedu music was a vital part of the royal insignia at the palace of the Oba of Lagos.