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.


AlooFar said...

I really don't know what the grouse is about Elizabeth's poem (or rendition). In my opinion, I think she did a great job. I watched her as she performed.

I've since been drawn to the lapses in the poem after I googled to know experts' opinions on her effort.

Whichever way, it's nice to know the new president appreciates literature.

Indian Movie:
Actually, I thought I was getting "punk'd" when someone told me about the Yorubanised Indian movies. Really, it's a great idea.

Unfortunately, I'm not into Indian or Yoruba movies. I might try to see one of these movies.

StandTall-The Activist said...

I have been seeing this Indian film new style. I just wonder if they have the permission to do the translation or it could just be another pirated copy

sleekiest said...

LOL @ Ghazab lede yoruba.Please let me know, I am itching to read about it. I think Nigerians fascination for bollywood will rise again with the success of Slumdog.
I havent read the poem, but I just couldnt stay forcused while listening to it. I got lost in its wordiness and thought little about it since then.

Desires said...

I don't know about this poem.

rayo said...

was at d salon when i first saw one of them indian films in yoruba, took me a while to believe the sound was from the movie. trust nigerians to be innovative in the weirdest possible ways.

Adeleke Adesanya said...

Listened to a clip from a yoruba/indian film. the quality of the yoruba is actually quite good. Talk of south-south cooperation.