Much of the brouhaha on Tope Alabi’s gospel music can be predicated on ignorance of the relationship among Language, culture and religion.
That every language is a cultural tool may be clear, however, it is difficult to know which one precede the other. This therefore is a matter of debate and perspective.
Religion itself is a product of culture. Though the knowledge of a God or spiritual forces may precede culture. However, an account of the myth of creation in the bible or Yoruba mythology suggest that Language existed before culture and religion.
That is why God could speak to Adam before Adam understood who God is. And Ajala or Orunmila could communicate with those who wanted to go and choose their destiny.
That being said, the focus of my article is whether a foreign language could adequately describe another people’s culture. This is a great task if I want to do academic justice to it but for social media audience permit me to skip a whole lot.
First let me say Aboru, aboye are greetings in Yoruba culture though they were also personified in certain ODU ifa. This doesn’t remove the fact that it’s a greeting normal for any event where sacrifice is engaged. Ki ebo ru, ki ebo ye, is a way of saying one who is engaged in a sacrifice should not miss or mix up the procedure so that the sacrifice would be acceptable. Ebo ti a ru, ti ye ni yen, when there’s no mistake.
For the education of my audience, every religion engages in sacrifices. Both traditional and foreign. Examples are abound in practice and the reading of the scriptures.
Nevertheless, there are different responses and chants in different religions when sacrifice is going on. Meaning there are different cultural rules on this according to the origin of the religion.
Alleluia, hosanna, ogun ye, aboru, aboye, alhamudu lilai are different chants during sacrifices according to Language where the religion originated from.
Nevertheless, syncretism and religious tolerance have given us the reason and courage to switch and interact with different religions within the ambit of our Language and culture.
That is why christians and Muslims can call Yawhe and Allah respectively Olodumare.
In conceptual term they are the same but in terms of representation they are different because there are somethings Olodumare can do that Yahweh cannot do.
Have you heard Muslims saying God doesn’t have a child and the Christians are saying Jesus is the son of God? Yet Allah, God, Yawhe are called Olodumare by Yoruba worshippers in different religions.
If you say Aboru, aboye are Orunmila chants therefore unchristian then Olodumare is also unchristian. The ODU in Olodumare is only expressed in ifa oracle where Orunmila is the father of ifa. Olodumare when broken down for analysis means oni ODU mare (this is the owner of ODU) .
In line with this therefore the owner of ODU is the one that entrust the chant Aboru aboye to his people. So if Tope Alabi used that chants, she is still in order if her focus is worshipping Olodumare.
If you think she is wrong I can also agree with you if you also agree to stop calling God, Yawhe or Allah Olodumare.