Form And Content Of ‘chiswa’ Harvesting Songs In The Bukusu Community

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Janheinz (1960) claims that “Oral literature has not yet been subjected to literary analysis.” Although much has been done in this area by literary scholars, a lot remains to be done. It is within this background that this study investigates form and content in Chiswa harvesting songs in the Buskusu community of Kimilili and Bungoma North Districts of Bungoma County, Western Kenya. It is worth noting that technological advancement], urbanization, industrialization, mechanization in agriculture, widespread use of chemicals in agriculture, modernization, unfavourable climatic and weather conditions and other human activities that are against termites have led to remarkable adjustments in the social behaviour and other way of life in the Bukusu community. These adjustments have strained the socio-cultural patterns of chiswa harvesting leading to a shift in their songs. The dilemma and problem in the Bukusu community centre on how to keep chiswa harvesting songs alive in the wake of modernity and how to strike a balance between traditional and modern perspectives of these songs, features of style as well as the para-linguistic strategies employed by the artists during performance in order to determine the aesthetics as well as social functional of these songs. The study moreover, investigates meaning, performance and symbolism attributed to these songs by the Bukusu community. This comes in the wake that, chiswa harvesting songs have not been studied critically, this fills the gap owing to intellectual stereotypes that oral literature in particular chiswa harvesting songs are a rural concept yet chiswa harvesters are able to create literature a new by duo role of audience and artist. The study looks at the continuity of this sub-genre of songs despite modernization and its challenges and changes on chiswa harvesting songs. The study is also implicitly an expression of the significance of field work in studies based on oral literature as the most appropriate way of collecting information. In this process the researcher forms part of the audience in the interesting and educative oral performances whose traditional contexts are getting fewer and fewer and being replaced by new ones in the socio-dynamics of our modern society. The performative aspects of the artists are examined whilst investigating the connection to the audience at large. The ingenuity of each performance is hence established as each artist is unique in his or her own way. The unique features of drama, vitality, warmth, vividness and agility are foregrounded.

Form and Content of Chiswa in the Bukusu Community - Khaoya Gabriel Matere_1.pdf120.88 KB
Form and Content of Chiswa in the Bukusu Community - Khaoya Gabriel Matere_1.doc31 KB

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