Tag Archive | Dance

Dancing Rhythms Of Love, Part 2


Dancing Maiden_Courtesy Shutterstock.com





Lagbayi, ara Oyo*, lion of the land

Great Oyo meesi*, Akinrogun* of Oyo

Proud warrior of dated ancestry

Tales of your battles far and near titillates.

Son of Lemboye, witty husband of Hunbo. Welcome!

We salute your courage, great wrestler.

To what do we this honor owe, seven full days before

The great maiden dance fiesta? You left Oyo early!

Indeed! Early riser, that’s how my fathers taught me.

Me, the lion of the battle field. Amororo guided me aright.

Seven days, yes. But to your land I come to see for myself

That beautiful damsel of the land – Silifa.

News of her dazzling beauty traveled far! Even strangers say

News of her elegance delights the ear! More wine, please!


Silifa ba wo*? You married from the great Sabe people, remember?

Dahomeys, who do not take kindly to oroguns*. Oran re o!*

How will princess Hunbo take it? How will Onisabe* react?

This is real trouble. Fitinati* births in our midst!

Oso sini lenu, o bu iyo si!* How would we sort this out?

But, Lagbayi, between Oyo and here, many maidens

You saw; of diverse shapes, of various sizes, pleasing to

Sights. Why us, why now? Enjoying our season of rest from war.

Kabiyesi and our Chiefs, do they know your real mission here?

Are they aware that this year’s maidens’ dance just became war?

And that is my fault, how? I heard, I came, I intend to conquer!

More wine, please! Woman, don’t just stand and stare – wine!

Yeeee! Apologies my lord, more wine coming up…


Lagbayi/Kabiyesi Amona


Amona, my ancestors told me of the war with Allada,

how whole villages were slaughtered who dared defy

the missive of the Alaafin, iku Baba yeye.

Amona, I warn you, on Silifa’s matter, no retreat no surrender!

Instruct Alao and Moripe not to cause war between us!

Vassals do not query their masters, I’m sure you know.

Lagbayi, calm down. Okun ki ho ruru, ka wa ruru o*

Amona, Amona, Amona! How many times did I call you?

Akinrogun to you, not Lagbayi. Only my friends have that privilege.

Ok, Akinrogun Oyo, I counsel patience. This is not state matter.

War? On this small issue? Patience! The girl is betrothed!

What????? To whom? How? When? The last I heard, she wasn’t!

Now, she is, Akinrogun. Now she indeed is! Nothing I can do.

So, what is the point of your maidens’ festive if their best is taken?




Karaole o* To what do we owe the honor of your visit, Akinrogun?

Moripe, bring a stool, bring food and wine for our August visitor.

Save your greetings Alao, save your ministrations! I came to confirm.

I heard a rumor. A little bird whispered that Silifa is betrothed

My mouth immediately vouched for you. Not Alao, I said. Not Alao.

My LORDDDDDDDD, what can I say. Bashiru will be my in-law.

Why, Alao, why? Why are you in such a hurry to marry her off?

Hurry, my Lord? Our Silifa is overripe for marriage; and she’s made her choice! Her choice is Bashiru. What can we do?

How am I not sure Silifa has anything to do with this, Alao?

Moripe, say something. Don’t just stand there! Am I lying?

Yes, oloye; just as my husband said it, just as he said it!


Alao! Moripe! Ema ma gba Esu l’abule yin?!*

Oloye, Esu bi boooo?* How is this a problem?

You’re asking me that, Moripe? Alao, answer your wife now…

O, your mouth is trapped, abi? My coco yams, my dried fish,

My adire eleko, my.., answer now, Alao! Since the last dance; nothing missing, nothing lost from your list.You think you can disgrace the great Lagbayi? Haaa, Esu a se! Iji a ja!* Alao!

I shall return to Oyo via Ilugun, if you know what I mean?

I shall visit your homestead and revel all my ears have heard!

I am sure Dauda, Moripe’s brother would be interested …

To know who burnt down his inheritance, because your in-law  refused your offer for Moripe, three times! Will it not become clear

why some love birds used the bush as cover to flee Ilugun?




Silifa Silifa! My rose among thorns. You see, my heart dances

Just at the sight of your beauty! Eledua* did overtime on you…

Yeeee! You will be my death yet! Kaa sa!* Come near me now …

Stop, Basiru, stop I say. Don’t touch me please…

You flatter to deceive me, Bashiru. Is that fair?

How on Eledua’s earth do I do this? You, I worship day and night?

How? You ask, ‘how’? You promise and you fail, don’t you?

Or is it because you think you have gripped the machete stump?

That’s why your word is no longer your bond? ‘How’, he asks?

Ololufe mi* Tell me what I have not done? and do it I shall

Tell me to bring ten cows, I shall. What will I not do?

Drunk as I am with love! Not just any love – Silifa’s love.

1 moon ago, when you came with your friends, remember?

1 moon ago? 1 moon ago? When I came with my friends?

Many issues were discussed, Silifa. Ok, help out this poor soul..

How remiss of me to promise and fail my sweetheart…


When you asked us to step aside from the motley crowd…

Oh, oh, that. I now remember. You told me to prove I will always

Love thee, no matter what, by hunting for ogbori efon’s* head..

Silifa, were you serious then? When I thought you were teasing …

Teasing? No, I was serious. My first and only request of you, and

Failed me you have. Bashiru, is that a taste of what I am in for?

Omo adaamo!* Haa, Yee! What was a rumor, I now believe, Silifa.

Oh, so you really do not want to marry me, abi. Aye ma ni ka o!*

Can your own forebears confront ogbori efon, talk less of killing it?

Ha, ha, ha! If that’s your plan – to kill me before we’re wed, you lie!

My wife you shall be; the taste of your wetness I shall enjoy!

Ogbori efon ko, ogbori elemoso* ni! Get out of my way joo …


© 17th May, 2016. Adewale Adeniji.



*Oyo – a great Yoruba kingdom

*Oyo meesi – titled chiefs of Oyo kingdom, closest advisors to the king

*Akinrogun – A title for a major warrior, lower in rank to Balogun.

*Silifa ba wo? – why Silifa?

*oroguns – wife rivals in polygamy

*Oran re o! – This is war!

*Onisabe – King of Sabe Kingdom in Dahomey (Benin Republic)

*Fitinati – Trouble

*o so si ni lenu, o bu iyo si – Conundrum/Bitter sweet.

*okun ki ho ruru, ka wa ruru – unwise to stoke the flames of fires

*Karaole o – greeting for a titled one, lesser than a king.

*Ema ma gba Esu l’abule yin?! – You better not allow the devil in your village.

*Esu bi boooo? – Devil’s visitation, how?

*Haaa, Esu a se! Iji a ja! – O a truth, there shall be chaos!

*Eledua – God

*Kaa sa! – exclamation.

*Ololufe mi – my darling

*ogbori efon – a mythical monster of the deep forest.

*ayanfe mi – my choice to marry.

*Omo adaamo – Expletive for ‘wicked soul’

*Aye ma ni ka o! – Wicked world!

*ogbori elemoso – another mythical monster of the deep forest.

Dancing Rhythms Of Love, Part 1.

With pulsating beats of music

Afield, aplenty, dancers regale, but

He rose high, then low, supine body

Rising so high, nearly touching the sky

Though many bodies entwined with the light

gyrating to the rhythmic sound of music,

‘Baba’, as the young and old call him, was

deaf to all sound but that of the dun-dun drum.

Dancing left, then right, waltzing in, then out

His hips doing the silent dance of lovers.

Mouths agape, maidens watched as this

young man, called by an elder’s appellation, entertained.

Hearts aflutter, souls a hoping, bodies expectant…


It didn’t start today. No. Many a moon has lapsed

As Olawuwo horned his craft, in the shadows;

On the way to the stream; alone in the fields

while chasing oya*; doing sundry chores.

His one desire, to be the King’s choice

For the festival of maidens. Oh, what pleasure

He reckons he’d give to Silifa, his crush.

If only… Oh, if only she had said ‘yes’ by the stream.

What a great life he would give her, what joy

he would harvest, and what envy he’d endure!

But she still says ‘no’! Who does that?




Malcontent of the village – derided by many,

Silently admired by all. What with his riches.

Bereft of handsome genes, bankrupt of grace,

Yet, he catches the best oya*, none his rival.

To think that Silifa prefers him. Him?

What could she possibly desire in that ungainly gait,

Crippled by bush traps. Some women are blind!

Who knows what fetish he uses on his farm…

Every farmer laments, Bashiru harvests aplenty!

Who are his parents in this village? Their story we know!

We’ve had the tales – loan sharks, the lot

Now masters among this blind lot. Even Kabiyesi

buys their cock and bull story! Mischew…


Surely, Silifa’s father must have fooled her

Allured by promises of riches, afraid of starvation

Why must that fool Alao fall from that damned palm tree?

And must Bashiru offer him help? Olowo igbo**!

Shameless father,Alao, using my Silifa as repayment

He must know that I love Silifa, surely he knows.

Agbaya***. I will have my bride yet. Some parents.

Alao ‘n Moripe sneaking out of Ilugun under the cloak of darkness

Who do they think buy their cock and bull story of why

Ilugun became too hot for them? Mischew… Abowaba*




Tall, dark skinned, supple hipped, high breasted.

Alluring beauty, worthy maiden – abale* intact.

Silifa’s trips to the stream, piped piper like, draws men

Both old and young; farming pretenders and weathered hands.

Their sojourn to the stream, so sure to be at that time of the day

Wives angry, maidens jealous. Men puffy, cheats heaving.

For me, only one holds my heart strings. Just him …

But why is life so cruel? Baami* insists I must marry Basiru.

Foul of body and breath! Eewa gbami**** All legs only!

Compared to my love. Just look at ‘Lawuwo’s biceps!

Surely triplets there reside! But what can be done?

Three moons from now, my most priced asset

On a cloth, on his mat would go! If only …

Alao & Moripe.


We are so lucky, Moripe; to have Bashiru to parent.

Our Silifa will have a life worthy of a princess.

You would agree with me that you too can have a lot –

Trinkets, those finely woven adires* you so love and so on.

For me, a life of luxury, in-law to Bashiru. Think about

my friends’ envy, my voice in the meeting square…

Hmmmm ….. Baale mi*, remember how we too began o.

We married for love despite my father’s opposition

Looking into your eyes was a dream! With nothing,

I followed you; sneaking out of Ilugun at night …

Our daughter too deserves her choice be respected.


Shut up! Foolish woman. So, what if we snubbed your father?

That’s past tense o. Ehen! So, you would rather we stave, abi?

What value has that lazy dancer? What’s his name again?

Is he blind? Silifa that kings and Chiefs desire?

That young bull better know where to stick his nose, or else…

Is it by force? Was his placenta buried in my compound?

Ka so ra o*!


Ha, Baba Silifa, Eewa beru Oloun*! On the days of yam

that boy could ill afford; what about his only goat, sold for

your treatment after the fall? Or …

Or what, you this foolish woman? Or what?

Did I to him appeal for help? He offered ..

When I was unconscious o! You, who was conscious –

Why didn’t you reject his gifts, why? Mschew…

Please if you have nothing good to spew,

Go get my food! Olawuwo ko, olafuye ni!!!


This Dance continues in Part 2… Watch out…

*What do you reckon the various characters should do next?


© 12th May, 2016. Adewale Adeniji.


Glossary of Yoruba Words:

*Oya – Bushmeat.

*Olowo igbo- Money miss road.

*Agbaya – Foolish old man.

*Abowaba – Coming back to you.

*Abale – Virginity.

*Baami – My father.

*Ka so ra o – Be very careful here.

*Eewa gbami – Somebody help!

*Adire – local, hand woven, patterned clothes.

*Eewa beru Oloun – Why don’t you fear God.