Thursday, February 05, 2009

Of Poems and Indian Movies in Yoruba

I know it's none of my business, but I had cause this morning to review my prejudice to the "Praise Song" poem for Barack Obama's Inauguration. The poem, written by Elizabeth Alexander, and performed on the Capitol Hill Inauguration event has been subject of many vile and sometimes ignorant review. Many of my friends said that it was too prosy, lacked poetry and was not properly performed, even hinting that Ms Alexander might have been too intimidated by the event, and the weight of responsibility of her role on that day to deliver like Maya Angelou did for Bill Clinton. While I didn't get to watch all of the poetry performance itself, I agreed in part that it might be hard to judge a poem only by what we hear.

Well, I read the poem in full today at Eshunetics and was delivered. I found someone who somehow gave voice to my thoughts. You can look it out too, and tell me what you think. For a differnt view of the poetry performance, go to the critical website here.

Meanwhile, I've been seeing some old Indian movies on the street of Ibadan. This time, they're totally in Yoruba. From the begining to the end, every word you hear, every cry and expression has been voiced over in good and colloquial Yoruba. This is very exciting. Whenever you see people gathered around a public television set these days, it's most likely to be one of those shows where the great Indian movie legends could be seen serenading an equally beautiful Indian actress in flawless Yoruba. I have not seen anyone of those movies myself, but I've seen people looking at them. I've also seen them being sold as DVDs: "Toofan Lede Yoruba", "Ghazab lede Yoruba" etc as the titles now read. I'm quite impressed. I will buy one of those soon, and let you know what I think.