TONIGHT 4/17/15 6PM EST THE CINCINNATI ILE OF OBAFEMI IFAYEMI DIVINE STUDY of IFA WILL BE ON SIGN O THE TIMES speaking about an upcoming event in Cincinnati, Ohio set for 4/25/15 PLEASE JOIN US..... Chief Obafemi Ifayemi Epega, the Mayegun of Ode Remo, Nigeria
Bembé: The Rhythm of the Saints
A bembé is a party for the orishas. During a bembé the orishas are praised, saluted and entreated
to join the party through `mounting' one of the priests or priestesses in attendance. This is done
through a confluence of the song, rhythm, and movement, all calling to the orisha in such a way
that the orisha will recognise themselves in the lyrics, rhythms and dances as they have been
performed for them for perhaps thousands of years.
The rhythms play an important part of the equation and the drummers practice assiduously for years
to be able to play the intricate rhythms correctly. This is important since the drums are actually
speaking to the orishas as the Yoruba language is a tonal one and the drums are tuned in such a way
as to play the tones of Yoruba speech. For this reason some rhythms are never played unless it is
in religious context as it would offend the orisha. These rhythms are actually prayers to the
deities with each orisha having its own rhythms associated with them.
Dance also becomes prayer in the religious context of a bembé. The movements of the dances are the
same motions associated with the orishas for thousands of years. As with the rhythms played on the
drums, each orisha has its own dances with Yemayá's dance emulating the motion of the waves, Ogún's
chopping with his machete, Oshún's portraying her primping in front of her hand held mirror, etc.
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