Keywords: Flood, Disaster, Ecomusicology, Environmental degradation, Popular music, Ibadan


Research on Yoruba popular music has tended to draw attention to its interest in romance and the accumulation of wealth. Inadequate attention has been paid to its engagement with the environment. Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State in Nigeria has witnessed perennial flood disasters, and this has been a concern of Yoruba musicians. This article is an ethnographic investigation of the place of music in the flood disasters of Ibadan as addressed in the songs of Yoruba musicians, Kollinton Ayinla, Foyeke Ajangila, Ebenezer Obey and Agbada Owo. The article describes the connections between the cultural past, when indigenous knowledge was respected and flooding was avoided, and the present, when it was forgotten, and flooding became a constant. Based on the very specific, local context of Ibadan, I argue that calls for the return of indigenous knowledge as propagated in popular music could be a way forward in environmental crises currently experienced around the globe.

Author Biography

Olusegun Stephen Titus, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
Olusegun Stephen Titus is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Music, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. He obtained a PhD degree in Ethnomusicology at the University of Ibadan. His work focuses on musical narratives of the environment, urban spaces, migration, trafficking, and landscape. He is interested in sociocultural explanations of environmental degradation and its effects on humans and developing awareness. He has been a IFRA Fellow; a Fellow of the A. G. Leventis Program, a visiting scholar at SOAS, University of London, and a visiting scholar at Oxford University in 2019.


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Agbada Owo
1980 Omi Màtún Yalé (LP, Olumo Records, ORPS 202). Lagos, Nigeria.
Ebenezer Obey
1982 Oro Ogunpa (Decca Records WAPS 488). Lagos, Nigeria.
Foyeke Ajangila
1980 ÒgùnpaYarí. (ORCLP 124, Olumo Record). Lagos, Nigeria.
Kollinton Ayinla
1980 Omiyale–Mekunu Njiya. (LP; Olumo Records ORPS 201),
Lagos, Nigeria.

Personal communication with the Author
Abayomi, O. 3 August 2017, Ibadan Oyo State, Nigeria.
Adeyemi, A. 2 August 2017. Ibadan Oyo State, Nigeria.
Alaba, A. 3 July 2016, Ibadan Oyo State, Nigeria.
Akara, E. 3 May, 2016, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
Interviews by Author
Kollinton, Ayinla. Lagos, Nigeria, 23 June 2016.
Ogundeji, Elijah. Ibadan, Nigeria, 23 February 2017.
Solanke, Jimi. Ile-Ife, Nigeria, 12 May 2017.