Àyàn Àgalú, the man believed to be the first Yorùbá drummer, is regarded as deity, spirit, and ancestor (Euba 1990: 90; Omojola 2012: 16). This tripartite characterization highlights the multiple resonances of Àyàn Àgalú's identity. For some people, he exists as a religious deity, while for many others, he represents an ancestral spirit believed to reside in their drums. Most traditional Yorùbá drummers, however, regard Àyàn Àgalú (or Àyàn) as their progenitor, and view their biological connection to him as validation of their calling as a drummer. The multifocal representation of Àyàn's identity speaks to the dynamic ways in which worshippers, musicians, and even scholars have interpreted his attributes in specific cultural and historical contexts and according to their interests. Multidimensionality is indeed an axiomatic feature of Àyàn's identity....

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