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Title:Oral poetry as herding tool: a study of cattle songs as children's art and cultural exercise among the Guji-Oromo in Ethiopia
Author:Jirata, Tadesse JaletaISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies (ISSN 1369-6815)
Geographic term:Ethiopia
oral traditions
children's songs
Oromo language
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/13696815.2016.1201653
Abstract:African societies attach great value to folksongs but the literature on African verbal arts has so far paid little attention to the role of children in performance oral arts. Similarly, the existing body of literature on Oromo folksongs places its empirical focus and analytical emphasis on the role of adults, neglecting the role of children in the performance and utilization of folksongs. In this article, based on empirical data from the Guji-Oromo of Ethiopia, the author argues that children are capable actors in performance of folksongs and construing their social world through it. He analyses the way the children of the Guji-Oromo perform a type of folksong known as 'cattle songs' (locally called as wedduu loonii) and document its connection to the everyday life and culture of their society. Through demonstrating the capacity of children to use songs as a way of understanding their environment and performing their cultural roles, he argues that cattle songs are a cultural exercise that reflects as well as shapes the bond between human beings and their environment. Data discussed in this article was gathered through 10 months of ethnographic fieldwork among the Guji-Oromo in the years 2013 and 2014. Bibliogr., notes, sum. in English and Oromo. [Journal abstract]