In Yoruba culture oriki, or oral praise poetry, is a major part of both traditional performance and daily life, and as such reflects social change and structure both past and present. Karin Barber studies the oriki poetry of Okuku, a small town in the Oyo state of Nigeria. She shows how women, the main performers of the oriki, interpret the poems and examines the links it gives them between living and dead, human and spiritual, and present and past.
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Karin Barber is Professor of African Studies at the Centre of West African Studies at Birmingham University. She is Editor of the journal Africa.
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