Abigbo music and the ever-evolving present: processing indigenous music as an indicator of communal experience among the Mbaise, Igbo

  • Christian Onyeji
  • Elizabeth Onyeji


This paper on abigbo music of the Mbaise, Igbo argues that indigenous music could be processed beyond its value as a purveyor of historical facts to gain insights into the nature of experiences, trajectories, concerns, fears and projections of a society. The discourse is anchored on the Igbo philosophy of the convergence of the distant past and the distant future at the ever-evolving present, and encapsulated in the theory of cyclic integration presented here. According to this theory, abigbo music not only shows influences from the distant past in the present, but foresees the distant future through occurrences in the past. This is apparent in abigbo song texts, which reveal the perspectives of communities regarding their early encounters with missionaries and the enduring impact these groups had on the Igbo until the present day. A transcription of the abigbo song ‘Ndi Amuma Ugha’ (‘False Prophets’) is discussed to highlight some of the conclusions drawn.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-626X
print ISSN: 1812-1004