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Title: Gendered space transgressors: a study of two Yorùbá female dùndún drummers
Authors: Samuel, K.
Keywords: Dundun drumming
Yoruba music
Female drummers
Gender issues
Male dominance
Gendered space
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: International Library of African Music
Abstract: The contemporary Nigerian musical landscape occasionally becomes a site for contesting and negotiating the established ideology of Yoruba patriarchy. These movements are evident in many women’s decisions to venture into drumming, an age-old male dominated musical profession. Informed by the theory of spatial trialectics, this article investigates gendered space in relation to dundun drumming with a view to understanding the changing nuances of gender relations among the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria. Ethnographic techniques were used to generate data on Ara and Ayanbinrin, two well-known urban popular female dundun performers whose aspirations and career trajectories reside outside the Ayan lineage and spiritual tradition. Biographical accounts and lived experiences of both artists suggest that women’s agency in Yoruba drumming is hedged by different, prevailing socioeconomic contexts, including a determination to challenge limitations to a career path and economic progress. By describing how female dundun drumming may be regarded as a response to social and musical change, and discussing how issues of masculinity and femininity are constructed, negotiated and contested, I argue that the belief forbidding women from playing Yoruba drums is not strictly applicable to the dundun because the dundun ensemble is more connected to social than religious performances.
ISSN: 0065-4019
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works

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