Introduction to Ijexá

As EEDS Bateria Class is in full swing, our mestre Reed is introducing the class to a bunch of new styles. Last week we began learning Ijexá, a traditionally religious style that features a distinctive, heavy agogo pattern layered over polyrhythmic percussion. Ijexá (named for a subgroup of the Yoruba people in Nigeria and Benin) is the name given to a series of sacred rhythms in Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion based on Yoruba theology. At EEDS, we’ve adpted the rhythm to a secular performance context, just as many groups in Bahia and Pernambuco do. These groups are called Afoxês, and there are a bunch of famous ones in northeastern Brazil (the secularized music they play is also called afoxê). The Afoxê Oxum Pandá in Olinda is one of the best known, and the most popular is probably the Afoxê Filhos de Gandhy in Salvador. For a great taste of ijexá, check out this great video from the Afoxé Oyá Alaxé in Recife, and their praise song to Oyá.