Erotic Music, Women and the Contemporary Yoruba Society


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




Erotic music is percussion music, with foreign musical accompaniment, practised by the Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria for the enjoyment of the urban underclass and the wealthy elite. Its indigenous variety known as efe was popular and its practitioners comprised both men and women. On the contrary, the contemporary Yoruba male religious world, through its foreign religions, prohibits women from performing erotic music but hypocritically tolerates men. The study therefore examines the agency of the popular erotic music of women renegade artistes in the contemporary Yoruba society governed by foreign religious strictures with a view to establishing their music as performance of power. Using feminist and agency theories to study selected song albums of Iyaladuke Abolodefeeloju and Saint Janet, it is observed that the erotic music of the renegade artistes is a domain of aesthetic revolution, women empowerment and subversion of the male religious cultural hegemony.