African Oral Epic Poetry: Praising the Deeds of a Mythic by Fritz H. Pointer

By Fritz H. Pointer

An immense severe version and English translation of this significant African epic delusion.

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Additional info for African Oral Epic Poetry: Praising the Deeds of a Mythic Hero

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What we might choose to believe is quite another matter. "Mythical narratives" Nubia Salaam informs us, "are the most highly valued forms in traditional history" (15). For many, in traditional, pre-modern, cultures these mythological stories that describe human origins and development are regarded as "sacred texts''. 17 So, in most traditional and ancient cultures, ''Transmutations, transmigration, mental telepathy, divination are commonly accepted" (81). Even today, astonishingly, in modem Western Christian, Middle Eastern Muslim and Jewish cultures, there is an insistence on the absolute veracity and infallibility ofthe myths of each, with all others being "ambivalently or marginally recognized within popular culture and absolutely dismissed in scientific discourse" (80).

They bore the royal standard to war and could in no circumstances turn back" (Forde and Kaberry 267). Seydou Camara, singer of the Kambili epic, was born and raised in the village ofKabaya, Mali near Guinea. He is Mandinka and the Mandinka people are spread throughout western Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Upper Volta and the Ivory Coast. As the name Camara implies, he is a member ofthe blacksmith caste (Bird v). He is now fifty-four years of age and he began playing the harp-lute casually as an adolescent.

Men and women acquire the same information about Sunjata, for instance, since they are allowed to attend the (rare) official rehearsals of the epic. In addition, "despite popular belief to the contrary, it is not uncommon to hear women perform versions ofSunjata and other epics" (Duran 201). The only gender difference is that ''women know the story of Sunjata as well as men, but men can speak the 35 story, women can only sing it" (Hale 227). So, women focus more on the praise lines and songs than on the narrative.

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