Renewal of Ogu Musical Culture Through Jazz Intervention

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This thesis instigates the discussion of the broad implications of cultural marginalization on Ogu music of Badagry, Lagos State Nigeria. Owing to the manner in which African States were carved out, without consideration for cultural boundaries, Ogu people were split through colonial delineation schemes with a minority within the Nigerian borders and the majority in Benin Republic. The same delineation process of the British and French administrations led to a multicultural Nigeria with over two hundred ethnic groups. In the ensuing battle for supremacy among the ethnic groups, in which number plays no minor role, the cultural integrity of the Ogu people began to wane. The complexity of social interactions in Nigeria witnessed the more populated and dominant ethnic groups casting their shadows on the smaller ones. The far-reaching consequence of such marginalization and social ostracism is cultural erosion and a xenocentric world-view of Ogu youths. Whilst elucidating the consequences of cultural marginalization, low self-esteem and the condescending mannerism of Ogu youths toward their traditional music, this thesis concomitantly discusses a possible method of forestalling the musical decay and restoring the integrity of Ogu music through the intervention of the jazz genre. Given the reality of globalization, mass transculturation, and the adoption of Western educational system by African States, musical syncretism cannot be evaded. Thus, this dissertation concludes by examining a method of documentation and reestablishment of Ogu musical integrity, which employs the adoption of jazz elements in creating a new Ogu musical style. Jazz is favoured as it is deemed with the potency of arousing the interest of the western-musicallytrained younger generation of Ogu people for whom jazz represents the highest level of harmonic complexity.