If you want to provoke Kevin Barry, ask him how he became so proficient in Yoruba. Then, he would ask you how you were able to master English to the extent that you speak and write in it with little effort.
Otherwise called Kayode Oyinbo, he has mastered Yoruba such that he would even prefer that the telephone interview be conducted in the language. And so stunningly good in Yoruba haD Barry become that he has stolen the heart of actor and producer, Saidi Balogun. He is the star of You or I, the movie that Balogun premiered in Lagos last week.
“He is so passionate about Yoruba that he gets disturbed each time we are speaking and we Yoruba people mix English words with Yoruba,” Balogun notes as he recounts his experience with Barry.
Barry’s adventure in the Yoruba worldview gathered steam when he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin to study International Relations and African Culture. But it really gained flesh in 2010 when he visited Nigeria for an exchange programme at the University of Ibadan. He says his passion became fired and he gave the project all he could to master the language.
“There is nothing I cannot say in Yoruba,” he enthuses. “I am humble about it, but I speak it as much as I speak English.”
He recalls that he met Balogun at an event in New York, USA. After they became friends, Balogun introduced acting to him and invited him to take part in You or I, a movie that looks at marriage from the perspectives of what makes or mars it.
“I care about people I relate with. I wouldn’t want to be part of just any film. But when I looked at the script that Saheed gave me, I told him that I wanted to be part of it.”
The American, who plays the talking drum, bata, among other instruments, says the making of the film was very tasking. Apart from the fact that they had to move from one country to the other – US, Spain, South Africa and Nigeria – which makes him to describe the experience as involving a gorilla style, he adds that there were days they had sleepless nights.
Kayode Oyinbo, who says he is also involved in public relations and events, enjoys Yoruba foods and loves Nigerian music. He loves seeing everyone dancing when a music is being playing at parties, unlike the typical American experience where, he says, many parties are silent, if not dull.
He says, “I have eaten many Yoruba foods, including snakes.”
Balogun adds that he chose to work with Kayode Oyinbo because he (producer) always wants to give viewers a unique experience. He adds that he does not believe in churning out films without investing a lot in creativity, which, he says, stands out a good movie.