Igbo Culture: The Infusion of Ogene and Oja in Modern-day Music

Musical instruments have played a major role in the lives of humans, and have also been a vital element, in giving any sound or music a soothing rhythm.

Lately, we are witnessing the infusion of traditional musical instruments like Ogene and Oja in modern-day music, which has become a notable trend in Nigeria.

What formerly was only associated with traditional music, is now gradually being introduced into modern-day music.

The Ogene and Oja traditional musical instruments, which are commonly found in Igbo culture in Nigeria, have been the most used musical instruments in modern-day music.

Several Nigerian musicians like Flavour, Zoro, and Kcee, amongst others, who are of Eastern heritage have continued to introduce these sounds into their music.

Let’s talk about what each sound represents;


The Ogene is a metal gong or bell that produces a distinct resonating sound. It has been traditionally used in Igbo ceremonies, events, and performances.

In recent years, contemporary Nigerian musicians, especially those in the Afrobeat and Afropop genres, have incorporated the Ogene sound into their music. This infusion adds a cultural and rhythmic depth to their songs, creating a unique fusion of traditional and modern elements.


The Oja is a traditional wooden flute in Igbo culture. It is often played during ceremonies, rituals, and other cultural events. Like the Ogene, the Oja’s sound has been integrated into modern music by Nigerian artists, contributing to the overall sound and creating a connection between the past and present.

Image of Oja musical instrument

It is worth noting that the infusion of these traditional instruments and musical elements serves several purposes:

Cultural Heritage: Incorporating Ogene and Oja into modern music helps preserve and celebrate the cultural heritage of the Igbo people and other communities with similar instruments.

Innovation: Mixing traditional sounds with contemporary music genres can result in innovative and captivating compositions that appeal to a wider audience.

Identity and Authenticity: Many artists use traditional elements to express their cultural identity and to add authenticity to their music. This can create a unique signature sound that sets them apart in a global music landscape.

Global Fusion: The fusion of traditional and modern elements in music reflects the interconnectedness of cultures in a globalized world. It’s, not just limited to Nigeria; similar trends can be observed in other parts of the world as well.

Nostalgia and Connection: For listeners who are familiar with these traditional instruments, their inclusion in modern music can evoke a sense of nostalgia and create a connection between the past and the present.

Overall, the infusion of traditional instruments like Ogene and Oja into modern music showcases the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of music as it continues to adapt and incorporate elements from various cultures and periods.

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