Story behind Sekere beating in Yoruba land


Sekere is a big calabash rattle having white(in most cases) strong wools and cowries (owó-ẹyọ in Yoruba) tied and decorated around the calabash to make a pleasant melodies when it is being beaten. 


History has it that there was a time in Yoruba land when Alaafin and some other people engaged themselves in ayo-olopon game contest. 

The head of village Sekere beaters visited the gaming spot to inform the monarch about the demise of his son. The Sekere drummers started beating the Sekere which got the attention of Alaafin. The monarch unknowingly started dancing to the pleasant tune played because he was too engrossed with the ayo(game) he was playing before he was told verbally that his beloved son had passed on. 

He had no other choice than to accept the demise with good faith and smile on his face as he was unable to cry because the Sekere had made him happy already. 

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Ever since the, it has been the custom of the Yorubas that Sekere should not  be used as a form of communication for any sorrowful events that might befall the royal family because; Sẹ́kẹrẹ̀ kii báwọn ródê íbánùjẹ̀ (Meaning, Sekere doesn’t engage in any mournful outing or events).

Eulogy of Sekere(oriki Sekere) 

  • Ajé òní irè kúkú ní rè 
  • Olówó bode
  • Tówó tówó ní Sẹ́kẹrẹ̀ ń sún 
  • Tówó tówó ní Sẹ́kẹrẹ̀ ń jí 
  • Sẹ́kẹrẹ̀ òsì kí báwọn ródè íbánùjẹ̀ 

Sẹ́kẹrẹ̀ was formerly made by putting cowries inside the calabash, cover it and then shake it to bring out lovely melodies before it was changed to using cotton thread to wond the cowries around the calabash. 


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