Hit Pick: Oyoyo

Oyoyo, Friday, August 20, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, is a Denver-based five-member percussion ensemble specializing in traditional African folk music. Leader Emei Ezidinma is Nigerian; "oyoyo" is the Yoruban word for "beauty." The group, however, uses a pan-African assortment of instruments: the talking drum, the kalimba (thumb piano), the shakere (a gourd draped with beads) and jembe (a goblet-shaped hand drum). Oyoyo has played quite a few festivals around town, and its 1997 Vol. I CD further testifies that this is neither worldbeat nor Afro-pop. Rather, it's an evocative and pure synthesis of ethnic rhythms that were most likely derived from common rituals and activities. The concert setting at St. Paul's should only enhance the music's more workaday origins. -- Thomas Peake


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