Dagbamba and Akan praise poetry acts as a lucid narrative platform for historical and political events

  • Abdulai Salifu Asuro


The past happenings of societies are brought together in a celebratory manner in most African praise poems. The present article seeks to look at praise poetry in two Ghanaian societies – the Akan and the Dagbamba (also known as Dagombas). In their descriptive traditions, bards use ornamented language to describe their patrons. It is the objective of this article to look at the ornamentations that these practitioners use in the poetry, and how the poems encode narrated history and offer commentaries on political figures. An ethnographic approach is used to look into this aspect with the aim of establishing how the genre encodes past historical happenings. Two principal written texts, one each from the two cultures, are used as the skeleton around which the essay is fleshed out, and then further amplified with material from participatory ethnographic enquiry among praise-singing practitioners.