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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Poetry and Gender: The Changing Status of Dagaare Women
Author:Nanbigne, EdwardISNI
Periodical:Research Review (ISSN 0855-4412)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Ghana
oral literature
songs (form)
Cultural Roles
Status of Women
Sex Roles
Folk poetry
Dagaare language
Women, Dagaaba
Folk literature
Abstract:Literature in any society serves both as an indicator of change and an arena where change can occur. This paper presents evidence for a change in the role of Dagaare women (Ghana) as manifested in the context and performance of Dagaare oral literature, showing that the part played by Dagaare women in the performance of dirges ('lagni'), praise songs ('dannu') and play songs ('anlee' and 'kccri') is an indication of a change in their status in society. Traditionally, it was unknown among the Dagaaba for a woman to chant a dirge at a funeral ground and it was a taboo for a woman to perform on the xylophone or the drums. In recent times, however, increasing numbers of women have begun to chant dirges and have become accepted as players of xylophones and drums. Also, women performers bring in new issues in their praise and play songs. This change in the role of women is also reflected in other areas of social life. It can be attributed to travel among other ethnic groups, education, activities of churches and NGOs, and economic developments. The change in status of Dagaare women is, however, on a minimal scale, and more can be done to accelerate the changes that are taking place. The paper is based on interviews with women performers and an analysis of their poems. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [ASC Leiden abstract]