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Friday, 11 April 2014

ORÍKÌ

What is Oríkì?

Orí - kí means praise for the head. It is the Yorùbá laudatory poetry (praise poetry) which gives insight, through a tale (ìtàn) to analyse, expose the origin (orísun) of someone (ẹnìkan), something (nǹkanor place (ibìkan).

OríÌpọ̀nríÀtàrí; head is the most divine part of the human body. A proverb says - 

 "orí ni à bá bọ, à bá fi òà sílẹ̀" - 

(the head is supposed to be venerated, instead of the deity.)

Oríkì is one of the interesting tradition of the Yorùbá race, which is why all Yorùbá lineage is known by one
 oríkì or the other. A poetical piece of spoken words full of secrets used to praise someone whom one is happy with 

 - Ọ̀rọ̀ tí ó kún fún àírí, tí  a fi n yin èèyàn bí inúu wọ́n bá dùn.

When a child is praised either from both sides of the it's parent, joy and happiness fills the child's heart -  oríi r
ẹ̀ á wú, ara rẹ̀ á yá gágá, inúu rẹ̀ á dn. Gladness revolves around the mind of whosoever is being praised. That is how oríkì make one feel (Bẹ́ẹ̀ gan an ni ti oríkì  e jẹ́ nílẹ̀e Yorùbá.



This lend credence to the proverb that says - 


"a kìí s oríkì m kí inúu rẹ̀ má yọ̀ sí'ni' - 

(A child is never praised and not happy)

Oríkì o
rúkọ includes Àyìnkẹ́Àbíkẹ́Àṣàkẹ́Àdùnní for females, ÀkàndáÀtàndáÀyàndáÀyìndé etc for males.

Also, anytime someone achieves greatness, such a person is eulogized for the success -
 bí nìkan bá e àey, ó kì í fún àeyẹ à

As we praise kings, so we praise the followers; other people. 

Oríkì fú
ba; panegyric for king;

Kábíy
èsí ba Olúwayé,
Ọ̀dúndún aṣọ̀'de d'ẹ̀rọ̀,
ba adé-kí-ilé-r'ójú
ba ade-kí-ọ̀nà-rrùn,
Arówólò bí òyìnbó,
Ó fi'lé wu ni,
O f'ọ̀nà wu ni.
Ògbìgbà tí n gba ará àdúgbò
ba at'áyé-r bí agogo. 


"Our head, king on earth
One who makes things easy,
The coming of the king ...... "

Early in the morning when a child greets (dọ̀pálẹ̀ for boys & kúnlẹ̀ for girls) the parents - good morning 'ẹ jí ire', the parent will reply - hope you woke up well 'ṣe dáadáa la jí?'

"Èrò Ìnàsí!
mọ ọ̀pá ṣo o.
mọ òlegunlẹ́ja
mọ ọjọ̀ burúkú ọ̀ gbọknrin... "

Same applies when a son arrived from a journey (ìrìnajò) etc he is sure to hear his oríkì from the mouth of the parent or loved ones.

Oríkì ìdí tells one upon hearing it that the person being praised is a member of a particular people, of a particular profession.

For instance, someone who is an ọ̀jẹ̀ (masquerade) is praised thus;

mọ Egúngún
mọ Ẹ̀pà,
mọ Oníyàrá àjìjì kò le wọ̀,
Àjìjì tí ó wọ'bẹ̀ ó d'ẹni ẹbọ.


"son of a masquerade,
son of Ẹ̀pà
son of the one with a room strangers dare not enter,
The stranger that enters will be used for sacrifice".


Oríkì Yorùbá is not just for humans (èèyàn), but for places (ibi) or things (nǹkan), and non-animate objects (nǹkan àìlẹ́ẹ̀mí).

An oríkì for pistol is seen below;

Àṣísorí agbé ọta sí
A tu itọ́ ikú síta ...


"the pistol with bullets in its stomach,
which throws out spit of death ... "


Deities (orìà) also have their oríkì -

Àwọn Àṣà àti Òrìṣà Ilẹ̀ Yorùbá - Olú Dáramọ́lá, A. Jẹ́jẹ́

The above is a kind of oríkì for the godslike Èṣù pípẹ̀àngó pípẹ̀Ọya pípẹ̀ etc are praises for deities used in the shrines ojúb to invoke the gods. It will surprise you to witness a thunder strike (àrá) or sudden rainfall (òjò) when àngó is being praised.

We see so much pride; ìgbéraga in the Yorùbá oríkì, we take it dearly to our heart. For instance, when someone is angry, you might hear something like - 

"èmi fún ra mi, èmi Àyìnkẹ́, ọmọ Olówu Òdùrú fún iraa mi" - 

(Me, me Àyìnkẹ́, progenitor of Olówu (Àkànbí's first daughter). Having heard this, you need not to be told that the speaker is an Òwu lady. 

Tó bá jẹ́ àwọn ìbejì ni a fẹ́ kì, ẹ ma gbọ́ - if it happens to be oríkì for twins, you will hear - 

"Èjìrẹ́ Ọ̀kín, ará Ìṣokùn.                                                          
Òyílàkí, Ọba ọmọ. 
Àtètè-jí onílẹ̀-gbálẹ̀, Ẹdun Agbári igi réferéfe. 
Ẹdúnjọbí, ọmọ Ẹdungbálájá orí igi. 
Èjìrẹ́ wọ ilé olówó kò lọ. 
Ó wọ ilé alákìísà. Ó sọ alákìísà donígba aṣọ".


"two child that match one another, king of children ...."

The above oríkì shows that Yorùbá cherish twin children, and they regard them as precious among all children.

A child born face-down is regarded as Àjàyí (ọmọ tí a bí tí ó se ojú dé ilẹ̀). Praise song for Àjàyí goes thus ~ 

"Àjàyí Ògídí Olú. 
Oníkànga-àjípọn. 
Ò-fomi òṣùrù wẹdà. 
Ẹni Àjàyí gbà gbà tí ò le gbà tán. 
Ikú níí gbolúwarẹ". 

Òjó, ọmọ tí ó gbé ibi kọ́rí là ń kì báyìí - a child born with placenta around its neck known as 
Òjó has its oríkì thus   - 

"Òjó Olúkùlóyè. 
Òjó Alágbada-ogun. 
Òjó ò sí nílé ọmọ adìyẹ dàgbà. 
Bó wà nílé a ti pà'yá ẹ̀ jẹ. 
Òjó Abádìyẹ-sàba-lórí-ẹyin". 


The child Ìwhich came out of the mother with the leg at delivery is eulogized as seen below.  ÌÀdùbí là ń kì báyìí;

ÌÀdùbí,
Ọmọ Onígba Ìràwọ̀
Ìkò róìyá,
Ojú bàbá nií ró.
Ìgè ì bá róìyá
Kì bá kó sẹ̀ sí ìta, 
ÌÀdùbí
ni b Ìn'íṣẹ́, 
Ara rẹ̀ l'ó tàn j.

Aside from individual oríkì, there are also oríkì ìdíìbílẹ̀. Below are some  oríkì ìlú/orílẹ̀.

Ìkòròdú 



Ìkòròdú Ọ̀gà, son of the masquerade Ẹ̀lúkú, son of neat Ìjẹ̀bú, who made his offspring Apènà, one been expected in the aàfin ...

Ọ̀gà, the first immigrant to Ìkòròdú from Ìjẹ̀bú, the Ẹ̀lúkú masquerader. Apènà is the leader of Ifá priest.

Oríkì Orílé Arẹ̀sà
Ọmọ Baríọlá ará Ìrẹsà
Baba dúdú etí Igbó Mọdẹ
Ọmọ ọba dúdú Okùn-oyè
Ọmọ jùà nígbó Àasà

Ọmọ kóró nígbó Ẹkọ̀rọ̀
Ọmọ ọ̀pẹ nìpìlẹ̀ ọ̀rọ̀ Mọdẹ Ìrẹsà
Ọmọ ọ̀pẹ mẹ́sàn-án ọ̀tọ̀tọ̀
Ní ń bẹ nígbó Ìrẹsà ...

Oríkì Àágberí
Àágberí Ọ̀gá, Ọmọ Ṣòókò
Ọmọ a sewọ mójú le koko
Ọmọ pèsè dè mí, n ò yà lábọ̀
Ọmọ kí lÀàrá rí fi sílẹ̀ bí kò ṣe iwọ 
Ọmọ Àárá ní ń gbégbá Iyùn lájà ...

Àágberí Ọ̀gá, son of Ṣòókò ...

Ṣòókò is the bàbá ńlá; fore fathers of the people of Àágberí.

Oríkì Oníkòyí


Oríkì Ìwó




Oríkì Ọ̀yọ́


Oríkì  Ọ̀fà




Ìyẹ̀rú ọ̀kín Ọlọ́fà Mọjò,
Ọlálọmi Omilọlá
One who got a name through yam ....

All indigene of Ọ̀fà are known as Ìyẹ̀rú ọ̀kín Ọlọ́fà Mọjò, the sons and daughters of Ọlálọmi Omilọlá. Iṣu means yam.

Oríkì Tápà


'son of the beast Àgan, kill me flat, let me die ...'

Oríkì ìlú Èkó

Èkó the land like a bed on water; àkéte, home of wisdom; ọgbọ́n. A place so mighty on the ocean but never sinks.

Oríkì Abẹ́òkúta


Abẹ́òkúta home of the Ẹ̀gbá tribe. home of Líṣàbí, Lámodi, Ajíbóyèdé, Ṣódẹkẹ́ etc who are great warriors of  Abẹ́òkúta; a town on the high plains ...

Oríkì Ìlú Ìbàdàn


Oríkì Ìlú Àkúrẹ̀ 


Àkúrẹ̀ Olóyèmẹkùn; the Olóyèmẹkùn, poverty never force an indigene not to have a white attire ... Aọ àlà is a symbol of holiness in the Yoruba religion

Oríkì Ìlú Òṣogbo 


'Òṣogbo Òròkí a town blessed with àsálà; walnut, obì; kolanut ...'

This oríkì talks about the natural resources found in Òṣogbo land

Oríkì Ìlú Adó-Èkìtì


You have seen the oríkì for human beings, do you know that animals ẹranko are not left out of this praises too.  As a result of constant encounter alábàápàdé with animals in the forest igbó  (farmers and hunters), our fathers have studied the beasts of the wild to an extent, making them understand their characters; ìwà and all about them.

There are more than enough animal metaphors used by the Yorùbá's ranging from domestic animals (ẹranko ilé) to wild animals (ẹranko igbó), we have it in abundance; ọ̀pọ̀lpọ̀

Animal oríkì are found in the Yorùbá ewì alóhn; oral poetry i.e Ìjálá (hunters poetry), sẹ̀-Ifá (Ifá poetry) e.t.c 

The animal oríkì emanated from habits ìhwàsí, beauty ẹ̀wà and movement ìípòpadà of animals known through experience ìrírí in hunting expeditions ìrìnkèrindò.

From the Ìjálá chant below, a hunter praise an elephant erin for its might; títóbi, attitude ìwà and value of its hide, tusk; iyì aw àti ehín in erin.

Oríkì Erin
Erin lábá-owó
Erin abíknlẹ̀ pelemmọ                                         (...Baballá 1966)

'O elephant, owner of a large basket of money, O elephant mighty even in a crouching state.'

Another highly priced animal in Yorùbá land is the duiker; ẹtu and it is praised thus;

Oríkì tu
tu òtònpòrò lẹ́gàn
Lájínbú aláyà gbẹ̀du
Àkọ́bí baálẹ̀ Ògbómọ̀ṣọ́

'O duiker, the highly priced animal in the forest. Whose chest skin is used for royal drum. The first-born of the of Ògbómọ̀ṣọ́. '

- The expensive duiker's skin makes a good hide for the royal gbẹ̀du drum. The marks on its face resembles Ògbómọ̀ṣọ́ tribal marks.


The Oríkì like the ones above on animal are also borrowed by Yorùbá'to praise humans. An example is 'Àjàní ọmọ kn' - Àjàní child of the tiger; features, boldness of a tiger is seen in the man Àjàní.

Also - bakán náà, we have oríkì for tiger. You will hear - ẹ̀ ẹ́ máa gbọ́;

Oríkì kn

'The fierceness of the tiger is expressed above. Its palm is regarded as a knife "abẹ", which it uses to tear its prey apart.'

fọ̀n is buffalo in Yorùbá, below is the Oríkì ascribed to it-


Next on the list is the animal egbin. There is a popular saying in Yorùbá, used to denote beauty in a person,  " omidan Dayọ̀ dára bíi egbin" (the damsel Dayọ̀ is as pretty as gazelle). The Yorùbá sees egbin as a very beautiful animal, read the Oríkì below for better understanding ;
Ajibade George Olusola


Egg; eyin is a delicacy everybody love to have a taste of. Animal taste differs, meat; ẹran has a unique taste, so is the awó; a bird (christened àparò; eat it, tell others) which the Yorùbá clan cherish so much for its meat and egg. 





The yellow monkey; awèrèmẹ̀gùn which feeds on farm produce in the presence of the farm owner is eulogized below -


Venom oró from snake have oríkì too, it is a tradition for those who know the oríkì of snake venom to call on its name whenever a serpent (ejò) bites and immediately the poison's oríkì is said, the deadly poison oozes out. 

You didn't see your oríkì here?  You have heard some oríkì not stated here? Which one is it? Please, share it below, remember that no one is an island, there are so many oríkì attributed to human, plants and animals, this blog only highlighted few of them. 

Ẹ ṣeun

Ire o!