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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Tradition and innovation in 'nnwonkoro', an Akan female verbal genre
Author:Anyidoho, AkosuaISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Ghana
Cultural Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3819851
Abstract:Discussions of African oral literature sometimes create the impression that these verbal art forms have always been there and will continue to exist for posterity, portraying them as unaffected by the religious, economic, social and political upheavals that are transforming the lives of the people who perform them. The author argues that the issue of change in verbal art forms raises several interesting questions about the nature of culture, the agents and mechanisms of change, and the processes through which innovative elements in cultures gain acceptance and authenticity. This paper shows that far from being stable, 'nnwonkoro', a female song tradition of the Akan of Ghana, is being altered at several levels by contemporary artists. First, it compares and contrasts 'traditional' performances with contemporary ones and identifies innovative features in the art form, such as the emergence of 'organized' bands, male participation, and the introduction of musical instruments. Then the causes of the changes perceived are explored. Finally, a comparison is made of the theories of literary scholars and the indigenous Akan theory about change in traditional verbal genres. It appears that the Akan accept innovative elements in 'nnwonkoro', but oppose modifications occurring in 'apae', a male genre of oral tradition. Bibliogr., notes.