Animasaun Abayomi from Ogun State is a Master of Ceremonies, and traditional folklorist with the brand, ‘Ejire Akewi’. In this Interview with JANETTE OGU, the graduate of History and Diplomatic Studies discusses his art and future plans
You’re a graduate of History and Diplomatic Studies, what took you into MC craft and folklore?
Let me start by saying that going into MC craft and folklore is something natural; they have been part of me right from time. My first folklore performance was when I was in SSS 2. From then, I started anchoring students’ gatherings in my school. After my national youth service year in 2020, I sat down and thought of what I could do to sustain myself, even if I still get a white-collar job. Then it dawned on me that I have to build on the talent I have. That was how I started my official journey to the cultural and entertainment world. I am also a documentary presenter on a popular radio station where I talk about the history of towns in Yorubaland.
How did you learn folklore?
I can’t say I learnt it; it is a talent in me that I built on. But I have mentors who usually check whatever I do to see if it’s on the right track.
In what ways did your course of study in the university help you in the folklore business?
My study of History and familiarity with some towns and their history gave me an edge whenever I had to research into the oriki or story of some areas. My knowledge about research helps me a lot.
What is the reaction like when you praise someone who doesn’t know their praise name?
Modernity and civilisation have really made a lot of people forget about culture and panegyrics. But I must say there are people who still know and value their panegyrics; that if you praise them, they can go to any length to reward you. Also, there are people who don’t even know their panegyrics at all and they don’t really value it. So, whenever we praise people like that, at first the atmosphere would look dull, but with a lot of energy and spice to awaken them, everything turns out fine at the end.
What are your plans for the ‘Ejire Akewi’ brand?
My aim is to make it a force to reckon with in the entertainment industry, and become one strong channel through with people can connect to their roots and cultural backgrounds. I also want to attain that level where I will draw global attention to what we’ve got here as a culture.
Who are your mentors?
When it comes to folklore, my mentor of all time is Olusegun Ajayi, an Ijebu-based veteran broadcaster. But in MC craft, I have many mentors, including Temidayo Okeseyin known as Dayoice, DejiRasaki and McDelefresh.
What project do you have at hand?
The current project I’m up to is on historical folklore, which will encompass the history of some Yoruba towns narrated with Ewi.
How would you influence society, especially youths, with what you do?
On my Instagram page, I usually drop some video clips in which I use Yoruba language to speak sense to people and give some moral advice. Aside that, I’m gradually making youths to know that no matter what, culture is really important and necessary in the society.
Where do you see your brand in the nearest future, say five to 10 years from now?
I see myself as a big brand owning a broadcasting outlet where I can keep dishing out contents to promote the Yoruba culture.
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