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Identity and Memory in Omobóyòdé Àrowá's Oríkì Performance in (Yoruba) Ekiti Dialect

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image of African and Asian Studies
For more content, see Journal of Asian and African Studies.

Oríkì is a significant panegyric poetry in indigenous Yoruba communities of South-Western Nigeria. The different sub-generic forms which characterize its form, and its obvious ethnographic and anthropological histrionics constitute its thrust and aesthetic peculiarities. This paper sets out to examine Omoboyode Arowa's oríkì performance, explores how she articulates the ethnographic cum-psychosocial knowledge of her environment, and subsequently exploits the same to advantage. It further demonstrates how this, in turn, engenders her re-inscription of self in the performance under reference. Whereas a performer usually recites, sings, or chants a form of oriki, Àrowá's oríkì performance in Èkìtì dialect embraces varieties of oríkì sub-types, giving her performance a more elaborate, and unique quality. Besides, the gender specificity noticeable in Àrowá's performance in which as a woman chanter, she succeeds in negotiating a space for self re-inscribing, thereby qualifying her oriki corpus as one of the highly developed, complex, and most achieving form of oriki performances in indigenous Yoruba. It concludes that, in view of the findings, there is the urgent need for a new vigor and sense of commitment to the study of the oríkì repertoire of individual performer for the purpose of ensuring its survival in a manner that makes its scholarship transcend its present boundaries, thereby making it serve new functions.

Affiliations: 1: Department of English, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

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