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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Music of the Lalibeloc: The Mendicants of Ethiopia
Author:Shelemay, Kay K.
Periodical:Journal of African Studies (UCLA)
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Architecture and the Arts
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:This contribution reviews the stylistic traditions of a guild of singers in the highlands of Ethiopia, the lalibeloc, named after the twelfth century Ethiopian emperor who is said to have organized them. In the past the lalibeloc were lepers or descendants of lepers who performed daily, before sunrise, outside the homes of wealthy Ethiopians from whom they received alxas. Many contemporary lalibeloc are not lepers. For those who are, medical treatment can both control leprosy's symptoms and eliminate contagion. Yet, the stigma remains. The tradition is still perpetuated by family units, with husband and wife performing duets and transmitting the tradition to their children. The author first explores the broad social context of the lalibela musicians within Ethiopian society, and then all available information about the musical event and its musical content. App.: verses and musical examples; notes.