Ojojo & Ekpo Masquerade – Ikeji Ndi Aro (New Yam Festival London 2017)

Ekpe (Ekpo)

Is celebrated in different communities, the styles of music and masquerade varying. The Ekpe festival is said to originate from the Cross River area from the Qua or related peoples. Ekpe spread to what is now the Southwest province of Cameroon and other areas and spread west towards what is now Abia and parts of Imo and Ebonyi state, largely due to the old Aro Confederacy. ‘Ekpe’ means leopard and the many masquerades across the Bight of Biafra region, although differing in shapes and size, usually mimic the movements of the leopard. Ekpe is not confined to a religion or ethnic group. It was originally used as a way of enforcing laws. Ekpe is usually only used for festivals now although many people are still initiated into the society. Ekpe is strictly for men only and there are masquerades that women are barred from seeing, along with non Ekpe members. (Source: nairaland.com)

Ojojo Dance

Isi Ojojo bu isi umunwanyi n’ebu. (Isi Ojojo is the head that the women carry). It is meant to represent the importance of women in Igbo/Aro culture. During the dance, all of the women take part in singing and procession. They sing “Onyi iro hapu m aka ka mpkawa nganga lewe ibem anya.” The dance is typically performed by Arochukwu women at cultural events and ceremonies. (Source:nairaland.com)

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