Monday, January 22, 2024

The bull-roarer during Oro festival

The bull-roarer during Oro festival 

Bull-roarer  are simple musical or sounding instruments and are used around the world in different cultures. 

Most likely you could have seen them in a documentary about Australian Aborigines. It is usually a thin slat carved out of wood, attached to a long cord. 

This cord can be fixed to a flexible pole around two meters long. The pole is rotated and the wooden spatulate can be whirled with a big momentum. 

The slat is swung in a circle above the head and at the same time spins around its axis, till the cord winds fully, in one direction. 

The vibrating sound produced by the slat moving through the air can be modulated by the length of the rope and the way it is swung. 

Especially large bullroarers (up to 50 cm or 20“ long) produce a low-frequency tone that can be heard over long distances.

The Yoruba call the bullroarers.iṣẹ́ Orò. It is usually around thirty to fifty centimeters (twelve to twenty inches) long, made of camwood or bamboo and can be decorated with figurative carvings. 

Once consegrated it is an absolute taboo for women to see this phallic representation of the Orisha. In addition every initiate receives a smaller version of a bullroarer, this oneis called ajá Orò, literally Orò’s dog. 

Onthe one hand the metaphor of barking through the sounding of an instrument announces the coming of the Orisha and on the other hand vice-versa also invokes the Orisha’s attention, like a dog might do.

 In addition, because of its smaller size, the ajá Orò produces a higher frequency tone mimicking also the voice of a smaller animal rather than the low frequency tones of the larger iṣẹ́ Orò bullroarers.Iṣẹ́ Orò are usually reserved for the elderly members or are kept in the shrine in the igbo oro ojubo Orò, the sacred forest of the Orò society out of town, where only initiated men are allowed to enter.

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