The Sato Drums History at Glance

The Sato Drums History at Glance:  Who were the Avidagba, Koudjo, and Tosavi?

One day, , Avidagba, Koudjo and Tosavi travelled to Weme in the Benin Republic for a gathering. They then saw a drum being played at a gathering. All three were entertained by the drum and liked it very much. On return to Aklakumo Badagry in Lagos in Nigeria, they decided to build a similar drum in the village. The three of them travelled to Gbagodo (forest) to look for the Atototin tree. They cut the tree down and transported the tree via boat to a large space of a land. All the three men were determined to build the drums.

What happened next?

The men dug a huge hole in the land they were using. Children were also used to dig the hole. Avidagba, Koudjo, and Tosavi would place children inside the hole and use them as tools to dig out the soil. This lasted for months until the hole was big enough for the tree. They then planted the tree inside the hole and began to carve. The tree did not take long to finish. The drums were then lifted from the hole and taken to Aklakumo.

On Arrival, what happened next?

On arrival at Aklakumo, the drums made a loud booming sound, which resonated across the village. This was the first time Aklakumo and its inhabitants would hear the sound of the drum. The sound of the drum was so powerful that it scared some animals away from the town. The animals that scampered away from homes never returned.  

As the drum arrived at the town, Tosavi’s son’s (Tosavi’s son is Agbanseme) wife gave birth to a girl called Yetonme. She was also named ‘Satosi’ (the wife of Sato) because she was born on the day Sato entered the village. In later years, Yetonme (Satosi) got married to one of Koudjo’s sons (Kunaso).

Facts about the Sato Drums

The Sato drums are used and beaten in Aklakumo during celebratory periods, particularly at burials of very old and renowned individuals. The drums are approximately three metres tall and beaten with seven long drumsticks. Those who beat the drums must jump simultaneously at the rhythm of the drum, and they must also wear traditional attire and perform acrobatic displays. Those who beat the drums must be orphans. An orphan who has lost one parent can only use one hand to beat the drum and an orphan who has lost both parents can use two hands. If both parents are still alive, you cannot beat any of the drums. The drums are hollow and must be covered.

The Sato drums were not widely known in Lagos State or Nigeria until 1972, when the drum was beaten in Kaduna during the reign of former president Yakubu Gowon. Furthermore, it was during this period that the drums were placed at the Badagry roundabout.

The main dancers and drummers of the Sato drums in Nigeria are the children of Avidagba, Koudjo, and Tosavi. These are the people who originated from the areas of Agbokomeh, Dadapame (known as Wheaga) and  Lokossa. Other people are also trained to dance to, and beat the drums.

You can locate similar drums to Sato in Nmufo (Ipokia, Ogun State). This is because the descendants of Avidagba, Koudjo, and Tosavi are still in Ipokia in Ogun State today. All the descendants of Avidagba, Koudjo, and Tosavi are the offspring of Weme in the Republic of Benin (the Ogu people). The design for the Sato drums originated from Weme in Benin Republic.

Who were the Avidagba, Koudjo, and Tosavi?

Avidagba, Koudjo, and Tosavi came from different regions of Dahomey (present-day Benin Republic) but when they met, they soon became very close friends. All of them loved each other and protected each other from harms. They displayed true solidarity and loyalty for each other. Furthermore, they did most things in unison. They would work and even travel together. However, the thing that truly defined their relationship was that whatever they did, no one took individual credit. All three took the applause together.

Avidagba, Koudjo, and Tosavi, all had different occupations but they complemented each other marvellously. Avidagba was a hunter and was full of strength. He was able to hunt down any animal. He also showed great zeal. Kodjo was an herbalist, psychic, angler and a powerful warrior. He was a Prince from Weme Kingdom in Benin, but lived amongst the people as an ordinary individual. Finally, Tosavi was a cultivator of fruit and vegetables and an angler.

Avidagba, Koudjo, and Tosavi:  The Back-Story

Evidence  indicated that Avidagba, Koudjo, and Tosavi. constructed the Sato drums near Aklakumo. However, Kodjo was the motivating engine that drove the construction of the Sato drums. Facts also reveal that the three houses of Aklakumo are related through marriage. This is because Yetonme (Agbanseme’s daughter) married to Kunaso (Koudjo’s son) and others too. Furthermore, the third, fourth and fifth generation of Kodjo are all alive simultaneously. Moreover, there is strong evidence that links these descendants to Weme Kingdom in the republic of Benin.