VFest: Yoruba Naming Ceremony
Ewi Poem
by Abiodun Adepoju

sound iconSound: first stanza in Yoruba, 113 KB .au
Entire poem, 1.4 MB .au

OLOMO LO LAIYE
EDUMARE WA FUN WA LOMO AMUSEYE
OMO TII TOJU ARA
TII TOJU ILE
TII TOJU BABA
FUN WA LOMO ATATA
TII MUNU IYA DUN.

OMO TITUN TO WA SILE AIYE
OBI ORE ATOJULUMO
E MA KU ALEJO OMO TITUN
OROGBO LO NI KOO GBO SAIYE
KOO GBO PELU DERA.

OMO OWO KII KU LOJU OWO
BEE NI OMO ESE KII KU LOJU ESE
OMO WA O NII KU
TIYIN NAA O NI DAGBEGBIN BI ISU

ODOODUN LA NROROGBO
ODOODUN LA NRAWUSA
ODOODUN LA NROMO OBI LORI ATE
LODUNLODUN NI KOLORUN O FOMO RERE
KE GBOBO EN TO NWOMO.

BIBI LA BIMO TUNTUN
EDUMARE JOMO TUNTUN O DAGBA
KOUN NAA O SI DOLOMO TUNTUN
KULUKULUKULU OMO WEERE
LODEDE GBOGBO WA.

ABOYUN NU KO BI TIBI TIRE
A KII GBEBI EWURE
A KII GBEBI AGUTAN
LOJO IKUNLE ABOYUN
KA GBOHUN IYA
KA GBOHUN OMO TITUN

WEREWERE LEWE NBO LARA IGI
GBEBE NII RO KOKO LAGBALA
A TABOYUN A TI KOKO
YIO ROYIN LORUN
GBEDEMUKE
GBEDEMUKE

OMIDAN TO NWOKO
KOLUW O FUNWON LOKO RERE
APON TIO LAYA
GBAIYA RERE KO WON LONA
AIYA ELESO
OGEDE KII GBODO KO YAGAN
AWON TI NWOJU
JE KIWON O FOWO BOSUN
KIWONSI FI PAMO LARA
A TOMIDAN A TAPON
WA DAWON LOHUN LASIKO

AGBE NII GBERE PADE OLOKUN
ALUKO NI GBERE PACE OLUSA
KOLUWA O GBOMO RERE
PADE AWA
EYIN AWA EYIN

BINA BA KU A FEERU BOJU
BOGEDE BA KU A FOMO RE ROPO
OLOYE KU FOLOYE SILE LO
OJI TAA BA PAJU DE
OMO RERE NI KO JOGUN WA

ABO MI REE
E MA PE O GBABO MI
ABIODUN A JI KUGBA ORIN
ERUWA NILE ILE BABA MI
ERUWA DJOKO AGBE DUDU
ORI OKELE
AKUKO GAGARA KII KO L'ERUWA
AGBE NII DAJOWON
EMI ABIODUN ADEPOJE LUNFOHUN BI AGBA.

3/15/96

To have a child, is to have joy in life.
God give us a child that we can be proud of.
A child who takes care of the family,
that takes care of the home,
That takes care of the father.
Give us a precious child,
that makes the mother happy.

The baby is newly arrived.
Parents, friends and aquaintances, you are all commended for the baby;
May the baby have a long life.
A long life in comfort.

The child will not die while in the hands.
The child will not die while across the lap.
Our baby shall not die
Yours shall not be buried like a yam.

Bitter Cola appears every year
Yearly does Awusa herb appear
Colanuts surface every year.
May God give good children yearly.
To all those who want children.

Indeed, a new baby is born.
May God bless him with old age
so that he may reproduce.;
Lots of children, intelligent from their infancy,
shall be in our home.

May the pregnant mother deliver safely
Goats never go through midwifery.
Sheep never go through midwifery.
On the pregnant woman's delivery day,
We shall hear the mother's voice;
we shall hear the baby's voice.

A ripe leaf drops easily.
The cocoa in the courtyard is always green.
For the pregnant mother and the child about to be born,
it will be easy;
gentle,
gentle.

To the unmarried women,
May God give them good husbands.
As to the unmarried men, may they have good wives;
Good childbearing wives.

May you not be barren.
To the would be mothers,
May you succeed
in having children.
The unmarried woman and the unmarried man,
may your requests be granted.

Good things shall be ours.
We shall attain goodies.
God shall present us with good children.
To us, to you,
to all of us together.

When one dies, a survivor is to replace him.
Substitution is essential.
A dead leader leaves a living leader behind.
On the day that we die,
may we leave a precious child to inherit our wealth.

Here, I pause;
this is my pause.
I, Abiodun, from a young age, sings two hundred songs.
Eruwa is my home town; my father's town.
Eruwa Ojoko, with a black parrot,
on Okele hill.
It is not a cock that crows at Eruwa,
it is a parrot that makes the town's announcements.
It is Abiodun Adepoju that talks like the elders.

Yoruba drums often accompany Ewi poems

sound icon"Ako" Bata drumming sample (103 KB .AU)
from Smithsonian/Folkways "Yoruba Drums from Benin, West Africa" recording

Ewi Poetry

At a naming ceremony in the Yoruba tradition, Ewi celebrates the joyful and peaceful arrival of the child to the family. Ewi embraces the new child in its new family.

Ewi is a tradition of singing proverbial praises. Ewi poets perform at special occasions, such as naming ceremonies, marriages and funerals to honor individual or family achievements.

Abiodun Adepoju

Yoruba Ewi poets are greatly admired for the richness of their words, the artistry of their use of idioms and proverbs, and their deep knowledge of the Yoruba language. Abiodun Adepoju, an Ewi poet widely known in the Washington D.C. area, is often asked to sing at naming ceremonies of the Nigerian Yoruba-speaking community.

There have been many gifted singers and poets in Abiodun's family. His late maternal grandfather, Pa Alabi Aderibigbe, was popularly called Ologunowe ("Proverbial praise singer of the deity Ogun"). Abiodun recalls that his late grandfather, Chief Olukotun Adebayo, was well-known as a singer and that the songs of his father, Jacob Adepoju, were also much admired and appreciated.

Abiodun regards the ability to create Ewi poetry as a latent natural talent. Growing up in a village setting, he received a deep grounding in Yoruba language, philosophy, and oral literature. As a boy, he accompanied his father to many celebrations where his father would be called upon to sing. These occasions nurtured his talent for Ewi. Abiodun came to Washington D.C. to study architecture and business management and now works as a real estate agent.


[African Immigrant Folklife Study project] [CFCH Home]
21 April 1996