Ga Yun's journal

Compare to our group presentation with other group, there are some differences. Since, our Yoruba culture is more oral traditional, there is no text or specific author.
However, other group, which is Robin Hood and Spanish group, and Baroque Italian opera, they are more modern than Yoruba culture, they have lots of text thing. They have specific author with certain play. And they also effected politics in specific era, so these two group explained little about back ground information of that era. And when Baroque Italian opera group addressed with their music. Because there are lots of music thing going on Baroque era, it was quite interested to present with their own time music.

Yoruba land is culturally different in a lot of ways, there things that are commonly believed and practiced, like the Egungun mask ritual. It is a festival for the worship of ancestors. But it's more than just that.
Egungun is one of the deities in the Yoruban culture. He is the deity of the ancestors. But it's also used to refer to the performers during the festival. Because there were no written documents the belief and history of Egungun was passed down orally through myths. And because the cultures vary so much, there are a lot of myths.
These myths are grounded in ancestral worship. They are passed down orally but they're also practiced and revered in everyday life. The idea of the physical and spiritual world isn't as concrete as a western view. They are always intertwined.
If one lives a good life they'll become an ancestor as well. Life and death are cyclical.

(Explain one of the myths)
Which is the same for how the Egungun mask ritual began, one myth is
(Explain myth about festival)
that a mother had lost a dozen of her children and she only had one left. Which she named Oje, which means eyes, when he was young he was sick as well. So she went to all the doctors and they didn't know what was wrong with him. One day she was playing the drums and he stopped crying.
There are also myths about why the Egungun came to be because the community needed it. It needed this ritual of worship and self-reflection.
So what happens during these festivals is that the diviner calls a meeting with the head of the worshipers, who is someone who has been very involved with the festival for a while, probably as a performer. The diviner is an extremely important person because he decides what is going to be presented and how long the festival will be. It can last from 3 days to 21 days. And there is no specific time and date between the different regions. So one place will have it on one date in the evening and another will only perform it at night.
(more explanation with video)
It's in this ritual that the bridge is connected and the ancestors speak.
It's constantly changing and evolving because it is a social commentary on what is presently happening, death, immoral behavior, or celebration, and yet it's grounded in ancestral worship. That's why it's been around for so long.

This week, I researched an article, which is about Egungun. The article that I found is "Traditional Yoruba Theatre." There is much information about Egungun. There were some problems with Christian missionaries on golden age and survived from Christian missionaries incursion. In Egungun, there are several aspects of point of views; such as chant, dance, and drama. Through these points of view, they represented mythological characteristic, religion and philosophical characteristic, and aesthetic characteristic with four guilds(carver, costumier, drummer, and balladeer). In mythological aspect, there is orisa, who is deities (god of lightning and thunder). In religion and philosophical aspects, both influenced by artistic expression and attitude of traditional trait of Yoruba. And in aesthetic aspects, they use lots of color overall. Also, there is a mask that Egungun's most static and stereotyped illustration. It certainly distinguished between stranger and non-stranger in Egungun with color of the mask.
The Bata, which is drum play with four different Batas always lead by women.

During research group project, 'Yoruban Ritual / theatre and performance, I can see how similar with Japanese 'No' Theatre and Korean theatre as well. Since Yoruban's dance and drum is represent they're traditional and culture in West Africa, I could recall what I saw in exposition during this summer.

When I found a youtube video, which is well presented about Yoruba dancing and performance in traditional way, I discovered the what the drum called in Yoruba language (Bata) and I could learn lots of background information about Yoruban. (Actually I played for fun this drum in exposition, but didn't know what this called). Bata is representing their ritual performance via their traditional Bata, which is dancing and drumming to tell their story about their faith. They worship God of fire, lightning and thunder; Orisha. Bata dancer show their spirits of thunder and power through dancing and drumming.
They have strong faith to their God, 'Shango.' and the story of the whole performance is about 'Shango.' There is a myth of this period (from Oyo empire which is 14th century).
'Shango' is the religions cult for Yoruban who is historical ancestor and represent their faith. Bata drummer and dancer's performance is a ceremony to greeting their king with masquerade. They are performed by traveling town to town and this troupes and this is called 'Elegun Apida.' Through Elegun performance, their story of performance manifests their mythology and patriarchy society.
And I realized that how different they are between Japanese No theatre movement and Yoruban Bata performance. They each represent their culture in different ways.

I don't have other classes or rehearsal in semester; however, I have lots of thoughts through this research. During studying and researching, I had hard time to figuring out main points and other details because these all written by different language with my mother tongue especially ancient scripts. In spite of the language problems, I learned many things and I was really happy to knowing historical information. It took lots of time to figuring out one little article or a play. Of course it was stressful when I didn't get the point even I read it twice. However, the thing that I realized that from this historical research is that I am writing my life history just like Yoruban and other culture that we are learning right now.


Hi Ga Yun,

As we discussed, your entries are looking great right now. They are very thorough in terms of talking about the information that you are finding as you research. Now that you've done most of the fact-finding, try to talk through less concrete questions that arise in your research. Besides the language barrier, what challenges do you face in researching the Egungun ritual? What are the connections and/or differences you see from other styles of theatre or art you may be familiar with?

I was wondering a little bit about what you meant in saying: "However, the thing that I realized that from this historical research is that I am writing my life history just like Yoruban and other culture that we are learning right now." While I'm not certain I know what you mean, I found this thought very intriguing. Perhaps this would be a good question to talk through a little bit more in your next entry.

Great job!


Grade: 100%

Ga Yun,

Good work on these final blog entries. I like your reflection on the differences between your group and others.

I want you to notice a couple things: you say that the other groups talked more about the context of the age (i.e. politics and music). I want you to know that these are things that you could actually talk about too - the politics look different but they are there(there are not kings and queens, but there are different tribal relations and macropolitics of the continent - the colonialism you talked about, for instance). You also could find ways to talk more about the music - since it's so intimately involved with the ritual performance too.

Great work, overall!


Final Grade: 95%

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