This book deals with the poetic traditions and performance of the peasants of East Gojjam in Northwest Ethiopia and presents the major genres of Amharic oral poetry in original and translation and commentary in English. The study provides fieldwork strategies, methodological issues and a critical review of the contributions of European and Ethiopian scholars to the study of Amharic oral poetry. It also describes major performance occasions such as agricultural work parties, religious festivals, weddings, funeral ceremonies, cattle herding and local public gatherings where Amharic poems and songs are composed, recited, sung and improvised. The study presents a total of 260 Amharic poems and songs classified under ten major categories: war songs, heroic recitals, grievance poems, cattle herders and children's songs, wedding songs, work songs, religious, songs, funeral poems, praise poems of the patriots, and contemporary and historical poems. Explanations and commentaries are also provided on local and cultural expressions based on the social, cultural, religious, historical and communicative contexts of the rural people and the interviews and discussions conducted with selected informants and singers.
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