You may find this incredible, but Igbo and Yoruba languages are widely spoken in the Caribbean Islands. And the speakers are not Nigerians living in those countries. Indigenes of the Caribbean Islands speak Igbo and Yoruba.
It might be different from the Yoruba or Igbo that many Nigerians speak today, but a foremost entertainer and music maestro, Tar Ukoh, says many people in the area speak Igbo and Yoruba of the 13th century. Till now he says, the Yorubas still play and enjoy their traditional Yoruba songs, while the Igbos feature their nmanwu, agaba and ekpe masquerades. Ukoh, known in the entertainment world as Mambisa, made this revelation while on a guided tour with a group of Cuban ladies mostly of Yoruba ancestry now in the country.
They are part of the Cuban troupe searching for the place their ancestors once lived and called their own before they were brutally uprooted by slave raiders and merchants and whisked to sugar plantations in the Caribbean Islands. “This group you are seeing here consists of Yoruba ladies from Cuba.
They are here searching for their ancestral home. They are asking, Ile mi da (where is my home)? And don’t forget that out there in the Caribbean, there are countless Igbos too who still speak their language, feature in agaba, ekpe and nmanwu masquerades. From those masquerades, they fashioned out a brand of music they call Wawanco. Their ancestors too were the exponents of the popular Calypso music which is an adulteration of Ka anyi soo nmanwu (let’s join the masquerade troupe).
They also play another brand of music called Abakwua to remember Abata, a point in Ogoja axis in Cross River through which slaves were taken. Slaves who went through that route were then given numbers such as Abata 1, 2… to identify them.” Now, Ukoh is demanding that those routes and other historical sites like the Long Juju of Arochukwu be revitalised.