So, What Is the Story Behind This Name?: Royal Praise-Poetry As an Oral Mythic Narrative

So, What Is the Story Behind This Name?: Royal Praise-Poetry As an Oral Mythic Narrative

Abdulai Salifu
Indiana University

Abstract
The Dagomba praise singing genre of northern Ghana employs figurative language to recapture historical events in the political life of the people. A reigning chief occupies a central, pivotal position in the daily life of the community and is seen as a reincarnation of his ancestors, whose exploits are used to praise him or her. Royal praises rely on stories which depict supernatural ancestral achievements. This piece looks at the metaphors and mythical elements to be found in the language used to praise a chief during a social event in Tamale, Ghana, and focuses on the mythical elements in the praise song, based on real historical events. This happens in the context of a revered epic tradition at a Dagomba King’s palace.


The praise names drummers sing or use to address their patrons at ceremonies are abridged historical mythic narratives, taken from the myths and legends of the Dagbamba (also called Dagombas) of Northern Ghana. The narration assumes mythical dimensions and religious beliefs and practices are woven into the telling of the tale.

Continue reading “So, What Is the Story Behind This Name?: Royal Praise-Poetry As an Oral Mythic Narrative”

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The Dynamics of Tradition and Folk Groups in the Role-Playing Game

The Dynamics of Tradition and Folk Groups
in the Role-Playing Game

B. Grantham Aldred
Indiana University

Abstract
In this article, B. Grantham Aldred explores the multifaceted nature of folk groups through the examination of jokes told as part of a role-playing game.  Exploring the way in which various types of humor appeal to the cultural frames of reference of multiple concentric folk identities, this article posits that folk groups exist in both a macro- and micro- condition, based on shared systems of meaning and functioning through performance. Continue reading “The Dynamics of Tradition and Folk Groups in the Role-Playing Game”