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Cuban Abakuá Participate in the Ekpe Festival, 
December 19-26, 2004, Cross River State, Nigeria

Nyoro Performance, Day 4

We attended the Nyoro (Idem masquerade display competition) on December 22, Wednesday at the grounds of the Cultural Center. The Cubans sat at the high table with Etubom B.E. Bassey and Chief Ntui, who officiated.  

From right to left: Etubom B.E. Bassey and Chief Ntui of Big Qua Town sit at the high table to judge to Nyoro competition.  Diaz, Miller, and Sanchez at left.


At Nyoro competition, right to left: Diaz, Chief Thomas Ekpe Bassey (Obong Nkanda, Eyo Ema), Miller, and Sanchez.


After libations were poured, the eight Idem masquerades were summoned one by one to perform by a chanter who held either wooden rattles or a drum.

After this Diaz boldly entered the circle made by an audience of well over 1000 people, began to chant and dance, while Sanchez played the Cuban bonkó solo drum with the percussion ensemble.

Cuban Abakua member Vicente Sanchez, at right, plays the Cuban Bonko drum with the Ekpe ensemble at the Ekpe Festival.

As Mr. Donald Duke, Governor of Cross River State, arrived to the Nyoro with his entourage, they passed through the large circle where Diaz performed, the entire crowd responding in unison to his chants.


Etubom B.E Bassey, right, greets His Excellency Mr. Donald Duke, Governor of Cross River State, Ekpe style.


Right to left, Etubom Bassey, Governor Duke, and Chief Ntui observe the Cuban performance at the Ekpe Festival.


The Governor sat with Etubom B.E. Bassey while the winners of the Idem competition were announced. Then Diaz and Sanchez performed again, offering other chants as the Cuban Idem masquerade was danced.

After the Nyoro event, the participants pose. Diaz at left in blue shirt with shades. Sanchez at center, holds drum.

The Cuban mask, center, in procession with Calabar Ekpe chiefs at the Nyoro.


Diaz and Sanchez march with Ekpe leaders at the Nyoro event, Calabar Cultural Center.

Diaz, center in blue shirt, and Sanchez, at right without staff,  march with Ekpe leaders at the Nyoro event, Calabar Cultural Center. Etubom Ekpo Eyo, president of the Calabar Museum Society, with gold tipped long staff, is to the immediate right of Diaz.

Chief Effiong E. Eyo performs at the Ekpe Festival.

Visit to the Ekoretonko Lodge
Visit to the Obutong Ekpe Lodge
Follow up, 2005


April 2005, by Dr. Ivor Miller


To return to the start of this article:

Preparing the Ground, summer of 2004 
Arrival in Calabar, December 2004, Day 1
The Ekpe Festival , Day 2

All photos copyright 2004 by Mr. Mpkan Ekpe Bassey, Ekpe member, Calabar


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