Abanékue : Abakuá members (those without titles). See ‘Obonékue’. In the Efik language of Calabar : àbàn ‘admitted’ into Ékpè ‘the leopard society’.
Baróko : a ceremony to initiate title-holders, during which a goat is sacrificed. Abakuá term.
Biankomo (or Bionkoméko) : A reference to all that occurs in the ‘plante’, including the music and the rites.
Butáme : Abakuá temple. Literally, ‘the place where the Ékue sounds. In Ngolo (Londo) speaking regions of southwestern Cameroon, Butamo is the name of the Ékpè society.
Ékue : the ‘mystic Voice’ of the leopard. In the Efik language of Calabar : Ékpè ‘leopard’.
Fambá : Abakuá temple.
Íreme : Body-mask. There are various Íremes in Abakuá, each with a specific title and function.
Mbori : goat. During initiation and funerary rites for title holders, goats are sacrificed. In Éjághám, mboi ‘goat’.
Moruá : chanter; whoever knows how, and then chants, is in this moment ‘Moruá’. In the Ékpè vocabulary of Calabar: Mùrúà ‘chanter’.
Moruá Yúansa : A title that represents the music, which he directs and chants.
Mpegó : The scribe. A title responsible for drawing ritual signs.
Nkomo : An Abakuá drum. In the Efik language of Calabar : èkòmò ‘drum’.
Obonékues : Abakuá members (those without titles). See ‘Abanékue’.
Planting : performing an Abakuá ceremony. This Spanish term is used to translate an African concept.
Válla, la : A term describing the circle of musicians on the patio who play lively music to keep the energy of the participants up during hours of ceremonial action.‘Valla’ literally means ‘cock pit’, a reference to cock fighting, because the lead chanters compete with adversaries to prove their mastery of Abakuá lore to the others. Spanish term.
1. The Abakuá institution : a Carabalí foundation in Cuban society
2. Styles of Abakuá music : Nyánkue rites; Efó and Efí lineages; the lamellophone; percussion instruments
3. Abakuá ceremonial music
4. Abakuá influence in Cuban popular music
By Dr Ivor L. Miller
© Médiathèque Caraïbe / Conseil Départemental de la Guadeloupe, 2016