Abstract

Located in Southern Ethiopia, the Maale traditionalists act for the preservation of a particular form of ancestor worship. Their society, highly hierarchized, is based on a complex patrilineal organization. Several researchers have shed light on the numerous markers used by the Maale traditionalists to express their position in the social hierarchy. This article aims at highlighting the various ways in which Maale music participates in this system of differentiation. In a continuation of previous studies, this article argues that gender, kinship, descent, and fertility are key concepts in understanding the Maale conception of hierarchy. Within this framework, Maale music appears as an offering that the musicians address to their ancestors and lineage elders. Culturally, each offering is supposed to convey four types of information, which are the musical context, the circumstance, and the social position of the musicians and of their social elders. The ethnomusicological analysis reveals the ways in which the lyrics, dance, instruments, and musical parameters convey all these pieces of information.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-6574
Print ISSN
0740-9133
Pages
pp. 35-65
Launched on MUSE
2015-05-07
Open Access
No
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