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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Male Praise-Singers in Accra: In the Company of Women
Author:Pellow, Deborah
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:gender relations
praise poetry (form)
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Architecture and the Arts
Cultural Roles
poetry & literature
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161109
Abstract:Hausa praise singing is a low-status occupation, whether carried out by men or by women. For men it is particularly so, given the gendered nature of status relations. This article focuses on Hausa praise singing in one of Accra's 'zongos' (stranger quarters), and more specifically on the role of the male praise singer ('maroki'). While Accra's 'zongo' communities are considerably diluted in their Islamic orthodoxy, they are nonetheless distinctly Islamic in tone, strongly influenced by the Hausa, and distinct from Christian southern Ghana. The author situates the 'zongo' praise singer by exploring 'zongo' culture, especially male-female relations, occasions for praise singing, and the importance of patronage in this status conscious society. Interwoven throughout is a contrast with praise singing in northern Nigeria. The author considers how gender relations change and get reformulated while continuing to be salient. She suggests that the role of praise-singer males who perform in Accra, like that of females who sing in Kano, Nigeria, carries gender-neutral status which enables the performers to mediate between the sexes. The article is based on research carried out in Accra in 1979, 1982, 1993 and 1995. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.