Bura folksongs : an analysis of their types, occasions, themes, techniques and functions

Haruna, Zainab K. (1998) Bura folksongs : an analysis of their types, occasions, themes, techniques and functions. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF (Migrated (PDF/A Conversion) from original format: (application/pdf)) - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (62Mb)
  • [img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
    (Original Version)

Abstract

This study attempts to analyze the types, occasions, themes and techniques of Bura folksongs. To provide a better understanding of the dimensions of Bura folksongs, the study describes Bura culture including its historical origins, the current location of the Bura people, their language, political systems and institutions, religions, sociocultural values and occupations. -- Analysis of Bura folksongs shows that there are various types of songs that are sung by Bura singers. These include songs of abuse, satirical songs, songs of protest, funeral songs and wedding songs. Others are love songs, work songs, religious songs, political songs and children's game songs. -- The analysis of the occasions for performing Bura folksongs reveals that there are many social and cultural frameworks in which songs are sung. Most Bura songs are created for and sung on particular occasions including naming ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, funeral ceremonies, festivals, religious activities, political rallies and campaigns, work and games. The occasions could be formal. This means that they are well planned and organized social events such as naming ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, funeral ceremonies and annual festivals. Or the occasions could be informal, that is, neither planned nor organized, and might include such activities as doing solitary work, putting a child to sleep or drinking beer at a pub. -- The themes of Bura folksongs are all-encompassing. The songs express Bura people's sociocultural values, religious beliefs and experiences. Some songs abuse or satirize individuals or groups of people. Others treat subjects such as love, marriage, death, kinship, religion or politics. -- Various techniques are employed by Bura songmakers to compose and perform their songs. The technical features include oral composition of the songs using formulaic words and phrases, oral performance, face-to-face performer and audience interaction and audience participation. Other technical devices are the accompaniment of singing with instrumental music, ululating, dancing, dramatization and work. In addition there are technical features such as figures of sound and figures of speech. Specific application of these technical elements make Bura folksongs unique, but in many ways they provide suitable comparison with songs of other societies of the world. -- Transcribing and translating texts of Bura folksongs strip them of some of these technical features associated with live performance, especially the sounds of music, the audience, the dance, the drama and the musical instruments. Thus, one can say that Bura folksongs are more intended for a listening audience than for a reading audience. -- Another area which the study examines is the function of Bura folksongs. Folk music is an all-pervading and interdependent aspect of Bura culture. Assessment of the entire Bura song corpus reveals that songs are performed for various purposes. The obvious and recurrent functions of Bura songs include serving as a medium through which individuals or groups can express otherwise suppressed feelings and views. Bura songs also mirror Bura culture, beliefs and values. They provide entertainment to the performers and the listeners. Bura musicians enjoy financial and material gains from their performances although they are not substantial. -- The study reveals that the application of various theoretical perspectives of Bura songs is invaluable. The study also shows the need to apply multi-disciplinary approaches such as anthropology, sociology, history, religion and literature in the study of Bura folksongs. Even with this study, Bura folk music is still understudied. It is therefore important that more ethnographic studies in Bura folk music be carried out by insiders and by outsiders too.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1171
Item ID: 1171
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 385-395.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 1998
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Nigeria
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Bura (African people)--Music; Folk songs--Nigeria

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics