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Songs Of The Bayeye (Snake Hunters) And The Banuunguli (Porcupine Hunters)

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Chapter Summary

Two of the oldest musical labor societies in the Sukuma region are the banuunguli or porcupine hunters association, and the bayeye or snake hunters association. The joking relationship between the banuunguli and the bayeye is more cordial than other Sukuma dance rivalries, and many dance practitioners are members of both groups. Buyeye and bunuunguli songs are typically associated with medicinal arts such as gathering and preparing medicines, hunting for and capturing snakes and porcupines, healing snakebites, ritual instruction for initiates, and humorous dance competition polemics aimed at their rivals. Another common theme with these songs is their dual utility as both hunting songs and competitive songs. Their songs consist of short, repeated call-and-response verses alternating with choruses.

Keywords: banuunguli songs; buyeye songs; porcupine hunters association; snake hunters association; Sukuma region



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