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HomeNewsLocal newsTrumpet Tree Ensemble: The Mama Leona Trilogy, Part 2

Trumpet Tree Ensemble: The Mama Leona Trilogy, Part 2

Blooms on a yellow trumpet tree. (Photo courtesy University of Florida)
Blooms on a yellow trumpet tree. (Photo courtesy University of Florida)

Tell me Yellow Trumpet Tree, when Mama Leona passed by, did you play your very best? Did you emanate at your brightest, holder of sunlit instruments? Like the players of ivory  horn, for Queen Mother Idia of Benin. I know she gave thanks for you, as Oba Esigie for  his mother. 

An ensemble of brass, uniformed in green, playing for the esteemed listener. And I imagine her smiling, clasping her hands in thanks to you. Then her and Saffron Finch get into a call and response, with her leading and everyone wants to join in; Hummingbird, Butterfly, Warbler, Lizard and so on; generating another session of the Green and Yellow Festival. 

As the Edo sang of Queen Mother Idia, so Crucians chant of Mama Leona. She sang of  the ancestors; great to hear you praising her. Flower of childhood play and national  significance. I think of you always ready, spick and span, highly polished, to render sweet  melody for the Golden One, from your iridescent songbook. Come Yellow Trumpet Tree,  play the Cariso Concerto for me. And let the lead trumpeter play on and on, The Mama  Leona Eulogy. 

— Due to the dearth of provision in Oxford, England, in 2009 Natty Mark Samuels set up the African School, offering African Studies to the general public. Teaching has taken place in a wide range of settings; schools, community projects, museums, colleges, youth clubs, universities, libraries, carnivals and botanical gardens. It has a specialism in African and Caribbean folklore. He is author of The Birago Diop Trilogy and The Papine Tales; the founder of Rootical Folkore and Birago Day: African and Caribbean Folklore Day. Visit the African School website to learn more.

— Editor’s Note: Part 1 of the Mama Leona Trilogy can be found here.

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