Musical Notes: Nigeria (Two Banknotes)

5 Naira

100 Naira
Flute and drum on back

Links to Music:

A common, yet unique instrument in Nigeria called the Oja. This wooden end blown instrument has three finger holes through which sound pitches are manipulated. Usually less than a foot in length this high pitched flute has a U or V shaped mouthpiece and can, with only three tone holes, produce as many as eight distinct tones based on the holes being open, closed or partly closed. Like most flutes, the hollow area runs the length of the flute body, but unlike other flutes, there is a short cross-piece that has a hollow terminating in sound holes.

Through the use of slides, taps, cuts and other effects a dedicated player can make the flute produce what is referred to as speech tones, which talks to drummers, dancers and the audience. These talking sounds are not immediately intelligible by others, but must be discerned and learned by the listeners.

Keeping alive the Oja talking flute in Nigeria

Alele, Ọja, Flute

Oja Bongo

Igbo Dance: “Ije nwayo” by Agbani-Nguru Ikorodo Group