It’s often said that “Language is the road map of a culture”.
When you learn a language, you learn the essence of a people. Tonal languages in particular (which many African languages are) require you to have a nuanced and astute approach to receiving and sharing sounds.
As the world continues to globalise, in the coming decades many of the over 6000 languages currently spoken will be rendered extinct. As a language enthusiast and a lover of cultures I find this terrifying. Language is not only a person’s tool to communicate, it’s the code to a long history of a people’s experiences, emotions and understandings, which holds in it an abundance of knowledge and a unique interpretation of the world.
With that said, below is a short directory of establishments that offer different African language courses in London.
For free online Igbo lessons by Okwu ID click here
The ubo-aka is a “thumb piano” of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria. This instrument features a wood-burnt hardwood soundboard (with cut-out handholds) mounted on an incised, woodburnt gourd resonator. Instead of the traditional metal cuffs around each key, a metal chain is stretched across the key. One other distinctive fact about this remarkable instrument being that it was by definition, the oldest existing musical instrument in Nigeria, there being no evidence of any older specimens anywhere else in the country. (Sources: nairaland.com + musicinafrica.net)
The IGBA (Cylinder-drum) is a piece of hollow wood covered at one end with animal hide held down tight with fasteners. The artist carries it over his shoulder with the help of a shoulder strap. The artist produces the sound by beating on the animal hide with his fingers or combination of one set of fingers and a special stick. The cylinder-drum accompanies dances, songs, religious and secular ceremonies, and its tunes have been known to gave special signals for good news as well as bad news. These drums often accompany many other instruments. Traditionally, the deeper shelled Igba are played with the hand, while the shorter drums are played with a curved stick. In an ensemble these drums often lead, and are used to “talk” by the talking drummers. To tune the drum, the player will use a strong object to whack the pegs around the drum in order to restore its best tone. (Source: nairaland.com)