This article classifies Macca Oromoo1
nuptial songs (sirba cidhaa) girls perform into different genres. The Oromoo live around the Horn of Africa, mainly in Ethiopia, and belong to the Cushitic group. In literatures, the name is spelt as ‘Oromo’ or referred to as ‘Galla.’ Here, the last vowel is lengthened following Afaan Oromoo orthography and chosen for uniformity and easy reference. Macca Oromoo nuptial songs are delimited to specific folk group, gender, age, and social occasion. They are of Macca Oromoo, particularly of young unmarried girls (durba2
), whose ages mostly vary from early to late teens. The social occasion of the study is limited to wedding, upon which girls perform more different varieties of folksong genres. The focus of this study is on identifying and distinguishing the genres of nuptial songs with their specific natures and distinct features. It also explores and describes the creativities and creative talents of the girls in different moods and situations in natural contexts. It begins with brief introduction of the Oromoo in general and the Macca in particular. This mainly discusses the Gadaa (government) system and its rules on overall cultural affairs and the in-built feminine institutions focusing on the nature of marriage.
Girls are among the most ignored social groups both in the studies of folklore in general and that of the Oromoo in particular. Kousaleos
) contends the studies of folklore remained to be the domain of men until recently. It is only few years since women’s genres, experiences, and performances have started to emerge. Yet, girls are still scarce in folklore studies and archives. In the same token, Oromoo and Gadaa studies have been denied access to scholarship over a long period to emerge only recently; siiqqee and similar women institutions have started to follow (Kumsa 1997
); but addooyyee3
and similar others, which focus on girls and girlhood, have been denied attention (Cerulli 1922
; Legesse 1973
; Bartels 1983
). However, Oromoo culture is full of rituals and ceremonies, wherein females dominate with their famous and powerful performances of folksongs and compositions of oral poems; girls produce folksongs of rich, diversified, and amazing qualities to mastermind, encourage, or discourage men to force them fulfill their desires; they conquer and captivate the young men with their songs. These have lasting effects on members of the society to die for the positive and to escape from the negative images they create. Among other social occasions, girls dominate wedding stages to have attentions of their respective communities.
Nuptial songs are among the essential expressive forms for girls in Oromoo in general and the Macca in particular. Folksongs are considered as the mouthpieces for girls and weddings are one of the most productive stages for their performances. The stage and the occasion also provide the richest varieties of their folksong genres. The songs contain the girls’ essential artistic compositional and performance skills to entertain, inspire, mock, praise, lament, and influence all members to take desirable actions for the well-being of the society. This article presents the genres of these nuptial songs Macca girls compose and perform along with their basic features, stages, and natural contexts. Weddings are one of the vital social occasions that allow girls to take central stage in the society to create social impacts. The songs exhibit the creative talents, skills, techniques, and powers of the girls to display and realize their influences on the society.
Thus, this article has two parts. The introduction highlights on the Oromoo and Gadaa system and the institutions that nurture and empower wedding and girls’ folksongs and the ethnomusicology. It also includes the methodological and theoretical frameworks that guide the study. The body explicitly describes genres of the folksongs: natures, orders in the ritual procession, manners of performances, artistic skills and musical qualities, roles on wedding, and relationship.
1.1. The Oromoo and Their Cultural Tradition
The Oromoo live in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and other east African countries. They are demographically populous, culturally homogenous, and among the most ancient peoples (Mbaya 2002
). In Ethiopian history, they have often been referred to as ‘Galla’, a derogatory term court historians attached to them and they reject. Their language, Afaan Oromoo, is widely spoken in the region. Traditionally the Oromoo used to depend on cattle breeding and farming agriculture (ibid.). The former is solely and mostly practiced in the eastern and southern lowland areas; while the latter is in the highland areas in the central and western parts along the other economic activities. The mixed agriculturists produce crops and rear cattle.
The Oromoo have developed a socio-politico-religious institution named Gadaa. Many scholars, however, present qaalluu as contrasting but complementary institution. Qaalluu is a hereditary institution which represents spiritual authority and is headed by abbaa muudaa (father of anointment), who is ultimately responsible to Waaqa (God). He anoints and blesses groups and individuals who come to him in pilgrimage and receives qumbii (fragrance) in return. Those who come to him include persons at political echelon in Gadaa system. Abbaa muudaa is also directly accountable to the gumii (assembly) of people. The power is life-long as long as he avoids those things he is not supposed to eat, drink, or do. The trespassing of these restrictions diminishes the qaalluus of their powers. The origin of the qaalluu is said to be variable. In some cases, the source is attributed to an unknown origin, in other cases it is attributed to patience (Kassam and Megersa 1989
; Legesse 1973
; Bartels 1983
; Baxter 1986
; Ta’a 1986
Gadaa is an egalitarian and participatory genealogical generation and age set socio-political system which represents temporal power (Legesse 1973
; Kassam and Megersa 1989
; Jalata 2007
; Megersa 1993
; etc.). The head, abbaa gadaa (gadaa leader), is ultimately responsible to the gumii (law-making general assembly of people) and has hierarchies of officials representing distinctive emblems of office or power and authority. Gadaa officials stay in power only for one term, eight years, and they are liable to buqqisuu, uprooting, if they commit crime or act unlawfully. However, as has been enshrined in the complex constitutional and legal systems of Gadaa, one has rights and duties to serve Gadaa until one becomes 80 years of age. The system interprets daily activities and interactions of individuals, groups, sexes, and society. They also define the places of all living and non-living things. Gadaa has both dogmatic and flexible laws.
One becomes a member in Gadaa system at birth with one’s age mates and exits after 80 with other members of his Gadaa class. Membership provides roles and rights, and accounts responsibilities. Members of a Gadaa class assume power at 40. However, before 40, they are required to acquire proper arts, skills, and knowledge and elect their internal leadership to different positions. The period during which they have power is called their Gadaa. After eight years, the group relinquishes power for the next class. Each Gadaa has power for eight years, after which the class promotes to the next. This also forces the predecessors and the successors to follow suit to fill the power vacuum. Transitions are marked by distinctly named rituals (Bidu 2015
; Legesse 1973
; Kassam 1999
; Bartels 1983
; Baxter 1986
Gadaa orders men’s lives from birth through a number of grades to gada-moojjii (elder-hood, where individuals exit off the system and its responsibilities). The grade structure corresponds to natural age. The active grades are dabballee, gaammee, foollee, raaba, and kuusa, respectively. The names could vary from group to group. Each grade has eight-year-periods, the five of which make 40-year-cycle, half of an individual’s life span. Fathers and sons may belong to the same patriline (gogeessa), of which there are five, and follow one another at intervals of 40 years. After the age of 40, the class comes to power to lead the society for eight years. This is called the Gadaa period (40–48 years of age), after which the institution is named. Those who exit Gadaa grade become yuuba I–III and Jaarsa, advisors to power holders before ending in Gada-moojjii (no more aware of Gadaa).
One gogeessa occupies the power echelon at a time. Rites of passage mark transition to the next grade and entail changes in ritual status. Preferably, procreation occurs in the senior warrior (raaba) grade and requires a man to have proved his virility by killing a trophy animal. Mostly, abbaa gadaas (gadaa leaders) are men. Females assume their gadaa grades along with their husbands, and sometimes brothers. They play different roles and contribute expressively to Gadaa system; Gadaa is incomplete in their absence. Having a son is an equivalent feat to acquiring a trophy for women. Women maintain the continuity of Gadaa system; they are considered the vital and ultimate caretakers, as their children take and pass Gadaa power on. The ritual changes affect their lives as mothers and wives. The Oromoo believe women are the ways through whom men are blessed to procreate (Kassam and Megersa 1989
; Bartels 1983, pp. 257–83
Besides men, women organize in sororities after two Gadaa grades to play their parts in Gadaa. They learn lessons from mothers, grandmothers, elders, and peers to discharge their responsibilities. Women mostly appear to manage and control domestic activities. This denied etic perspective researchers hardly observe women’s roles in the Gadaa system. However, women play major roles and have a number of duties and responsibilities in Gadaa. Acting responsibly and cautiously, they can instigate or pacify conflicts. Indeed, women are considered the architects and the main guardians of Gadaa system; they are essential parts to involve, act, react, and exercise their powers to improve lives. Gadaa leaders cannot fulfill its required rituals without having wives and sisters (Legesse 1973
; Bidu 2015
). In rituals, women express themselves, share their views, knowledge, and understandings to encourage or discourage the men towards or away from some actions in orally and artistically powerful ways. This shows its egalitarian and participatory nature in regard to gender.
Girls and women have their respective gender-based in-built institutions to gain and maintain their power in gadaa. As per their age and marital status, they are organized under Addooyyee/hiriyyee, siiqqee, cibiree, and others. Addooyyee/hiriyyee is a sorority institution for girls to organize, unite, learn, acquire, and maintain their powers to protect their right and defend themselves from exploitations and mistreatments. Siiqqee does the same; it also helps them stand against those actions of men that contradict their advantages and interests. Cibiree is a motherhood institution to empower, defend, and protect mothers. This institution exhibits elements of gender equality and power. They are ignited with values and belief systems to help in actualizing empowerment and equality. These have been ideal instruments to maintain power balance and provide social justice. They also help to encourage, motivate, and inculcate essences of creativity and innovations.
Cogently, marriage and the in-built institutions display women in the Gadaa system. An Oromoo has to marry by 40, before entering the Gadaa period (41–48 years). Marriage is highly ritualized, ceremonious, and procedural to exhibit longstanding Oromoo traditions. It helps to maintain and sustain Gadaa through procreation. It demands and allows one to learn laws and procreate to claim his Gadaa after a generation. It follows ritual and legal bindings, seera rakoo (Gadaa marriage law). Beyond the man and the woman, the exogamous moieties establish strong social bonds and engagement channels and relationship through marriage. Seera rakoo occurs under ritual oath. The groom slaughters sheep on the gate and daubs the forehead of the bride with its blood before she enters into the bridal room to seal the legality of the marriage. The bride is required to be virgin to maintain the reputations of herself and her parents (Mbaya 2002
). This is indeed believed vital for a long-lasting marriage, and the overall success of the couples’ married life.
Girls are taken care of and are cultured. They must be well trained, disciplined, responsible, and eloquent in norms and social values. They are informed about the values attached to virginity and the subsequent problems in marriage. Virginity is believed to boost marrying opportunity, love, and trust between the couple and respect for the families. Girls can face sexual assault or be coaxed for sexual intercourse. Parents and families control and pamper them to remain virgin until marriage. Mothers take the prime responsibility to ascertain this. They follow their daughters, identify the behaviors of their addooyyee (peers) to trust or to avoid. Brothers and sisters stand next to mothers. Relatives, villagers, and other social groups and connections are also responsible. This lessens the possibility of getting pregnant, having a child before marriage, and the ensuing disgrace. Having a child before marriage damages the integrity and status of a girl, her family, and even her clan. Such a child has only maternal affiliation to force to name after the grandfather (mother’s father); this is anomalous in Oromoo family structures. These put strong moral, social, and cultural responsibilities on the girls reflecting the attitude of people towards them. Most of their folksongs also arise from and revolve around these issues. To help with these issues, parents control girls.
Girls inspire and maintain Oromoo moral standards. They are intelligent and creative to maintain and keep norms and values. Enculturation and suppression give them limited outlets in social discourses, but indeed add their curiosities and determinations. Likewise, their songs are the most engaging instruments of self-expression. They compose oral poems and perform in group with the help of dibbee (single or double membrane, wood, or metal semi-circle framed drum). These create captivating music to attract attentions, inspire actions, and shape the society. Men try to fulfill any demand the girls require off them, even if it endangers their lives. This is to avoid unpleasant names in their songs. For someone to imply the saying, yoon … durbatu natti weeddisaa (if I do [not] …, do the girls defame me?) is most feared. Gadaa values feed the songs to have lasting effects on groups and their behaviors. Girls reveal societal norms and their own ideas, emotions, desires, aspirations, motives, fears, attitudes, determinations, angers, speculations, etc. in these creative and powerful art forms, which need to be listened to and addressed.
Nuptial folksongs give power and intensity not only to the wedding ceremonies, but also to Oromoo identity, culture, values, belief systems, customs, and norms. The genres are rich and powerful; each social group takes care for them, including their attitudes for marriage and attached values (Bronner 2007
, 23 quoting Dundes). Music and dance reflect society and offer means to negotiate and transform hierarchies of place (Qashu 2009
; quoting Stokes [1994: 4]). In Arsii Oromoo wedding rituals “men, women, and youths occupied different spaces and sang different musical repertoires”. They were structured in the same manner, but remain in a nuclear family on a daily basis. The various musical repertoires of wedding produce and emphasize group identities with a unique opportunity disclosing their specific roles in the ritual and in the society (ibid.).
The Macca make the majority of the Boorana Oromoo and live to the west of Addis Ababa in Oromiyaa, the vast heartland of Ethiopia. They have fertile arable land for crop production and animal husbandry. They produce mostly grain and cash crops and also rear cattle, sheep, goats, mules, donkeys, and horses. They contribute significantly to the income of the national state and the country. Historically, the Macca have been exposed to the direct impacts of subjugation to lessen the ritual practices of Gadaa as the cultural displays were feared to undermine the dominant culture. However, marriage customs and practices continued defiantly as expressive forms of identity, traditions, and the belief system. They have been serving as the outlet of Gadaa system depicting and displaying social structures and social groups during the times Gadaa was suppressed. Macca nuptial songs (sirba cidhaa) are rich and diversified. They have an intricate relationship with Gadaa. Unweaving the genres and explorations of the themes require “a long line of subsequent investing,” as Belden
) remarks on Child’s work.
The current study mainly focuses on identifying and describing the genres of Macca Oromoo wedding songs (sirba cidhaa) girls sing. It briefly outlines the genres, explores their unique features and basic characteristics, and arrange temporally and spatially along wedding rituals. Specifically, the identifications of the general themes of the genres, descriptions of the manners of their performances, their places and times in the procession of wedding and their roles are focused on. It also discerns the structural relationships of genres as culture bearers perceive on the wedding rituals to reveal their essentiality in folkloristic inquiry (Georges and Jones 1995, p. 93
). The name ‘Macca girls’ nuptial songs’ is contextualizing. It specifies the folksingers as a particular gender and age group. The girls sing the songs on wedding ceremonies, the immediate social setting the songs are based on, including their manners and roles. The songs are part of the complex and multiple genres of Oromoo folksongs and ethnomusicology and are performed on variable occasions. However, girls’ nuptial songs have significant roles to display social groups, their roles, manners, identities, and interrelationships. They also reveal Oromoo philosophy, psychology, culture, identity, and means of achieving life’s goals. The identification of the genres along with their contexts and natures opens horizon for documentations and studies of folksongs and ethnomusicology and paves ways to pursue further investigations and detailed analyses (Ben-Amos 1993
Weddings as the immediate context of Macca girls’ nuptial songs disclose the mood and the atmosphere. They are distinctive descriptions of the natural contexts: the producers, the participants, and/or audiences, while the purposes, the styles, and the materials and/or subject matters help to specify the particular genre of the performing art to promote our understanding. Limón and Young
) spotted “performance and contextually centered understandings of folklore as social behavioral process and as situated communicative interaction”, which has received researchers’ attention since 1970s. Bauman and Briggs
) and Bronner
) also confirmed this idea. Bauman
) advised that performance analysis in contemporary socio-cultural context should be situated in ordinary cultural practice, cultural display, or enactment, and the situated interactional practice of verbal art—Oral poetics (as quoted by Limón and Young
Weddings are vital occasions to inspire girls to perform folksongs. Here, they face opponents and have opportunities to express themselves dynamically and share their creative talents to their communities. It is one of the limited public life where they perform music freely and influentially. They express their suppressed and overdue feeling, emotion, attitudes, desires, and grudges charmingly. Preparations for the stage spark creative performances. Girls gradually practice nuptial songs (sirba cidhaa) in peers to produce versatile song genres to address their concerns and liberate them, but force the men to fulfill their demands. Dundes frames this as a brief and a certified outlet in psychological and cultural meanings; narrative and ritual symbols summarize (or intensify) experience and release from reality (Bronner 2007, p. 3
). These folksongs are scantly documented, and they are not as commonly practiced as before these days; they are exposed to extinction.
1.2. Methodological and Theoretical Frameworks
The ethnographic data have mainly been collected through interviews, focus group discussions, and observations from Macca Oromoo girls’ nuptial songs since 2001. These were from live events focusing on them and during other studies of different topics. Secondary data have been explored and used from studies by other individuals, video clips, and TV broadcasts. Moreover, the researcher is a native with practical experiences about Oromoo folksongs and has been teaching oral poetry, folksongs, and ethnomusicology for a long time. Social and cultural changes have immensely weakened the practices. However, simulative demonstrations were made by Macca women and girls. The consultants were practitioners of the songs at girlhood prior to the time of consulting. Identified through snowball sampling, they included the elderly and young women. Performances, actions, and speeches on simulation stages helped to enlist consultants. Furthermore, crosschecking and counter-checking techniques were used to strength the validity of the data. These techniques produced vital issues about the genres. These were transcribed, categorized, and ordered in meaningful ways for analyses. Secondary data were also explored from works on the same or similar subjects. Some songs were recorded from practical performances on the stages and others were used from YouTube. The researcher’s practical cultural and teaching experiences had further enriched the study scaling down the existing knowledge gaps.
The data have been transcribed, examined, analyzed, classified, and interpreted using interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approaches. In this research, they were approached mainly from the contextual and performance-based folkloristic perspective, which Jordan and de Caro
) wrote “tends to overlap with several other fields of study”. Among others, anthropological, sociological, literary, linguistic, gender, ethnomusicological, and art theories have been used. These are essential to analyze Oromoo girls’ nuptial songs; in the same token, Short
(1996, p. 2
) argued for linguistics in literary stylistic analyses. Using these, performances, gender and social relations, origins, creativities, musicality, contextual realities, and artistic qualities are analyzed. The richness and the interconnections of contextual folklore studies were realized first by Ben-Amos
) and subsequent followers. In ‘Gender and Genre in the Folklore of Middle India’, Flueckiger
) used a “performance-centered” approach identifying the social contexts and the different genres the local group recognizes focusing “on their interconnections and contextually shifting social meanings”. Local classification emphasizes “exteriority: genre name, purpose, style, performance context, and social group”. Moreover, the kinship elementary structure of Lévi-Strauss
) and the analyses of creativity and creative contexts of oral poetry by Bidu
) have been used. Feminist theories have no contradiction with these theories and frameworks. Meanings of the songs have been mainly constructed from the Oromoo cultural milieu in general and the specific stage of the wedding along the nature, style, instruments, other performances, and constituent elements. Common features of genres are presented together to focus on distinctions of specific genres.
2. Genres of Macca Oromoo Nuptial Songs (Sirba Cidhaa)
2.1. Arrabsoo (Insult)
In the girls’ nuptial song of Macca Oromoo, arrabsoo (insult) is intended to besmear, ridicule or undermine bad behaviors and identities off the in-laws. The subjects revolve around activities, duties, roles, and styles of the group or their members in their efforts to fulfill needs and discharge roles. They imply their lack of courage, unity, capabilities, trustworthiness, strength and determinations, etc. In spite of whoever they are, the in-laws are described as incapable and coward to accomplish desirable activities. Defamatory song characterizes them as cowardice, docile, weak, diminutive, ineffective, lousy, etc. The girls attempt to humiliate, harass, seduce, and conquer them. The recounting of true incidence can humiliate; otherwise, the other part also tries to reciprocate or ridicule the defamation itself. This tests authenticity and strengthens the wedding. Power is added to the songs and competitive atmosphere is created between the two groups. Achieving a desirable act is insufficient; how one defends genuine achievements is important. The confidence one has developed through the achievements need to be proved. Such songs which undermine and ridicule the achievements and identities are tests to them. They are meant to evaluate the level of confidences the in-laws have established through different behaviors and achievements during their history.
Arrabsoo mainly attributes some negative characters to a wedding person to ridicule or discourage. Behaviors are interpreted undesirably even if otherwise. They are considered as distinguished identity marks of the vilified persons or groups. The girls study carefully to identify the patterns of the behaviors in the individual members or groups to focus on. Arrabsoo can also undermine their desirable characters of which the group could be proud. It is a faultfinding song; it focuses on negative characters and/or features or undermining achievements of the other group in the intercourse.
Arrabsoo is the major and the most common genre of Macca nuptial songs. It has wide coverage in terms of time, themes, and performance styles. It occurs at the beginning of the wedding occasion. It is sung for long span of time covering approximately for more than the two-third of the total time of singing on a single day and in general. Arrabsoo is also sung both on eve and wedding days. Eve occasions can be extended to two months and sung during evenings alternatively, leaving one day in between and being sung on the second. The length of time depends on the availability of girls to organize and the concern of other girls to participate.
Arrabsoo is sung at the places of both the bride and the groom. The bride, her peers, and her relations compose and sing at her parents’ home. The bride departs from her addooyyee members. They know they are going their ways one after another and have mixed feelings. They have to make their last moments memorable and eventful. They wait for it with strong desires. At the homestead of the groom, the sisters, their peers, and/or relatives sing arrabsoo for about the same time span. The length depends on the availability of a girl to invite others from different villages. Once they come together they know their business. One exaggerates, publicizes, and recounts a number of the weakness of the other and vice versa.
Arrabsoo is one of the powerful genres of nuptial songs. This can vary from time to time and place to place. Young men can accompany young girls in dance at both the bride and the groom’s homes. This is the case during the eves at evenings. Sweethearts enjoy the company of each other in dances in the dark to intensify and strengthen the performance. However, the most powerful momentum of arrabsoo is when opposite groups come face-to-face. This mainly occurs twice. One is at the time the amaamota4
arrive at the place of the bride to take her. The groom and his companies sing and dance powerfully to display their power, strength, and identities in competition with the girls. In reaction, the bride and her peers sing and dance strongly and powerfully to surpass the amaamota, who are trying to do same for their part. The girls also slur each one of them severely. The moment is one of the epicenters of competition to realize the actual purposes of the genre. The essence of competition is not limited to the nature of song, but it is also attributed to the power of the dances. The song is accompanied by powerful physical performance reflecting jubilant moment. The groom is the center of the defamation and the amaamota are insulted because they are his friends, relatives and companies.
|2.1.1. Iyyoolaa koo shuwuu5||My iyyoolaa oh shuwuu|
|Mishingaan asheeta ‘jennee?||The sorghum is said to be ripe,|
|Meerreree asheenni sunii?||Where is the ripe?|
|Mucaan bareeda ‘jennee?||The boy is said to be handsome,|
|Meerreree bareenni sunii?||Where is the handsomeness?|
|Dhufe kaa jaldeessi kunii!||He who is chimp has come.|
In song 2.1.1, girls from the bride side slur the groom who looks like chimpanzee. They have been told that he was handsome to eagerly wait to see him. However, when they see him, they scorn him, saying he looks like chimpanzee. They are making a counter claim. The song contains parallel patterns to create powerful rhythmic effects. The groom (mucaan) becomes ‘the boy’. Mishingaan asheeta (sorghum ripe) is created to parallel and rhyme with mucaan bareeda (the boy handsome). They also exhibit semantic parallelism. Asheeta is sweet, captivating, and salivating, which the mishingaa was supposed to be. Similarly, the expected groom is handsome; the one who comes bears the face of a chimpanzee (denial of expectation). However, it is intentional defamation of the handsome groom. The girls create such musical songs to attract attentions and entertain whether in praise or defamation. This way their songs retain a long-lasting effect on the minds of members to maintain traditions or to inspire members for change.
|2.1.2. Baala sokokkee,||The leaf of sokokkee,|
|Baala sokokkee,||The leaf of sokokkee,|
|Eeraxxa6 soddee,||Where’re you going our in-law,|
|Naaf gotottee?||Carting your lame leg?|
|Cabi akka sooyyoma xobbee!||Be broken like immature sooyyoma tree!|
Song 2.1.2 is sung in reactions to the jubilant and powerful musical performances the arriving amaamota perform. It is intended to vilify and undermine the efforts and to test their courage and the authenticity of their performances. The amaamota are displaying their powers with their strides and best performances. The girls, contrarily, are portraying them, especially the groom, as lame and incapable people. He drags his feet like a lame person; in other words, they are saying that he has difficulties to move steadily. The irony and contradictions make interesting contributions to help us realize about the contents of arrabsoo songs. It also reflects the tense and competitive relationship between the two groups. The competitive and contrasting reactions boost and heighten musical performances to the highest possible level. This makes a wedding ceremony into what it is or should be.
The girls close the gate to prohibit the amaamota from coming inside. The amaamota push the gate to pass by it. This may cause some pushes and pulls between the girls and the companies of the groom to disallow and to pass. However, exerting force is considered truly abhorrent. The companies of the groom do not dare to press on as its consequences show disrespect. Their retreat implies not only their surrender, but their knowledge and understanding of the intentions to compete with the girls. They have to show patience and restrain. There is no animosity here. It is meant to give meaning of purpose for the occasion. It is to establish relationship and lay foundation for future lineage and kin. The girls stand firm and continue their songs until their demands are met.
|2.1.3. Dongorii dhaabii obboo koo;||Dig and erect my brother,|
|Kan damee hin qabne maa murtee?||Why did you cut branchless in the first place?|
|Gobamii dhaaphuu yaa gurbee;||Stand still you poor lad,|
|Kan birrii hin qabne maa dhufte?||Why did you come without money in the first place?|
The symbolic representation of acts and behaviors are more important than the things themselves on Oromoo wedding. The fact that the groom is required to pay money is more than about money. It is to add purpose to the musical performance to test their knowledge and respects for the demands of the in-laws, the female gender, and the tradition. Tradition is more important than the financial value of the cash. He has to know the traditions, be prepared for their requirements, and act accordingly. The girls are physically not strong; however, the competition—in song 2.1.3—is not about physical strength. The power of women starts to be realized here. The amaamota surrender and prove it to the other that they know and respect their traditions to submit and take away one’s member in marriage, i.e., they are conscious of the respects girls should receive. This proves knowledge, love, and respect, rather than force, are instruments for winning. The groom and his companies are in search of relationships and friendships from the family and their group in general.
The girls’ song is rhythmically powerful and vibrant. This provokes physical performances. The degree of rhythmic vibration can vary. Sometimes, it exceeds above the normal, other times it drops. The physical performance exhibits the determinations and strength of the performers in front of the spectators and opponents. Their opponents also build up the performances and their powers. The group show their identities and powers with their songs. The issue of self-esteem involves as worrisome and empowering. It ignites and heightens emotions and energy. With the song, the girls try to undermine the in-laws or depict that they were lowborn and unequal with them. He is too poor to afford what it requires for a man to marry a girl. He is too incompetent to work and acquire wealth, which makes him incapable to pay for the marriage. His naivety is greater than his poverty. He does not realize that it requires wealth to marry a beautiful girl. He does not know who he is and where he belongs, nor does he recognize and realize his capabilities and potential. He shows his stupidity to come here without taking into account his capabilities. He did not work hard to be viable or to belong here, but now he knows nothing about what he should do to be out of the situation he is in. He should go back home.
|2.1.4. Way laloo koo,||My affluence,|
|Hin laadhu,||never will I give,|
|balbala obboo koo.||My brother’s gate.|
|Hiddii cirtan malee,||Unless you cut hiddii,|
|Birrii fiddan malee,||Unless you bring Birr (money),|
|Hin laadhu balbala obboo koo!||I’ll never give my brother’s gate!|
In fact, the groom proudly takes out and pays the payment the girls require on the gate, balbal-qabaa7
. He knows and has been prepared to pay the money the girls require in song 2.1.4. As for money, he has to acquire it from anywhere to avoid humiliations. As for wisdom, he is accompanied by wise counselors to take care of the situation. They are with him to guide him in ways that maintain the integrity of their groups and clan. They have to pay to pass.
Poverty is an obstacle for marriage and for establishing and rearing family. Boys have to work hard to acquire adequate wealth to avoid this obstacle and worry. The careful, conscious, and alerted ones work hard to easily go through the wedding requirements and establish family easily; however, not all do so. This issue makes an important part of girls’ wedding songs, as 2.1.5 demonstrates. They ridicule the groom for having not enough cattle and crops. They imply that he should have worked hard to be established economically; he should have acquired adequate resources early on in his life. They show that he did not work hard; that he did not save, he is lousy, a drunkard, or too incompetent to manage his home and family; that he could not pay out the dowry, provide the rituals marriage requires of him, and could not feed his bride. He simply requests the daughter of a man for marriage without having anything to live on. This makes important theme of the girls’ song at the home of the bride’s parents.
|2.1.5. Yaa hoomii gaaraa irreessa hoo,||the hoomii above Irreessa Mountain,|
|Inni maal qaba iyyeessahoo;||the in-law has nothing, but poor;|
|Loon sadii qaba,||only three cows has he,|
|Tokko qalataa,||he slaughters one,|
|Tokko qaraxaa,||he gives dowry one,|
|Tokko uffataa,||he sells for clothes one,|
|Merre rakoon kee?||where is one for rakoo ritual?|
|Kana rakkoon kee!||Here lies your problem.|
The Macca Oromoo practice mixed agriculture: they produce crops and rear animals. Their wealth is counted in the amounts of grain crops and the number of domestic animals, especially cattle. Both can be sold to earn them money, when it is necessary. Earlier, dowries used to be paid in kind, but can now be in cash, too. Gifts provided for the bride in most cases require cash pay. Wedding feasts require crops. Self-sufficient grooms can fulfill marriage requirements by themselves; others can be helped by close relatives and clan members. Some only fulfill the wedding requirements with what they have acquired or got from helps of relatives and clans. However, after the wedding is over, they could be in trouble. The man who marries must have grain crops to depend on; it is one of the fundamental requirements. The most difficult situation is when he has nothing to feed his wife—the basic failure of the male gender, as song 2.1.6 discloses. This symbolizes destitute, the situation which the following song marks. Roaming indicates having nothing to rest on; folded sack represents emptiness, having nothing. Both indicate poverty and restlessness.
|2.1.6. Ulee qalloo qallittii,||That thin tinny stick!|
|Homaa hin qabduu namtittii,||The fella possesses nothing,|
|Keeshaa martee, gabaa xallistii,||Roams about the market with a folded sack,|
|Achii dhuftee, mucaa namaa rakkistii.||Comes to trouble one’s daughter.|
After passing and getting the reception of the hosts, the girls continue insulting the groom and his companies. They mostly depict the groom as a coward; one of the ways they ridicule him. One among the many possible songs of this kind is the following:
|2.1.7. Farsoo miilanaa,||the farsoo of this round,|
|Naqxa moo naquu?||Shall you make or shall I?|
|Atuu naqittaa,||You shall make it,|
|Anuu dhuginnaa;||I shall drink;|
|Baqqoo miilanaa,||The Baqqoo of this round,|
|Dhaqxa moo dhaquu?||Will you go or shall I go for you?|
|Anuu dhaqinnaa,||I shall go for you,|
|Atuu hafittaa,||you remain at home,|
|Ajjeesee fidee,||I kill for you,|
|Faacha badhaasee,||Give you the trophy,|
|Atuu dibattaa,||you will be anointed,|
|Ittiin garmaamtaa,||with it you jump high and above,|
|Ittiin seeggaltaa!||With it you sing and pageant!|
Song 2.1.7 portrays the groom as infamous coward. The purpose is to ridicule and irritate him. The bride criticizes him for staying at home, acting as if he were female, and having no manly qualities. He fears to go to Baqqoo8
to kill big game animals and bring trophy back home. Trophy is a proof for brave acts. Here, the bride knows the groom did not go to Baqqoo to kill and obtain a trophy. He is too fearful to go and kill; thus, she is ironically promising him to bring one herself for him. It is inevitable that one speaks of his bravery. However, speaking is different from doing and demonstrating with tangible evidence. One’s bravery is proven by the trophy he brings home after going to Baqqoo and killing such an animal. If he has killed, he produces the trophy, sings songs, and dance with it to silence and indeed force them to join his team.
|2.1.8. Gundoo booree||Gundoo booree,|
|Gundoo adooyyee||Gundoo addooyyee,|
|Dhiistee galta moo ree||Are you leaving it behind,|
|Fuutee galta moo ree?||Or taking it?|
|Yaa jabbi dhootuu,||The calf rider,|
|Yaa cagginnooftuu,||you moody!|
|Gundoo booree,||Gundoo booree,|
|Gundoo addooyyee,||Gundoo addooyyee,|
|Fuutee galta mooree?||Are yopu taking it,|
|Dhiistee galta moo ree?||Or leaving it behind?|
|Baddaa kana saanuu hin jirtuu fardeen malee,||This highland has no cattle except horse|
|Kana keessa dhiirtuu hin jirtuu nadheen malee!||In this group no men, only are women!|
Song 2.1.8 is a test of patience of one of his close cousins. From among the companies, a close lineage of the groom is selected to receive the properties she has acquired. This person could be the first, the second, or third cousin, depending on availability and feasibility. All things being constant, the nearest cousin is selected. He can also claim the right to be. The representative of the family of the bride counts out all items prepared for her to take along. He passes them publicly on the wedding stage to the selected and represented cousin of the groom. The latter takes care of these domestic items and household utensils. He has responsibility to take care of them and check for their safe arrivals. Some of these are gifts she has been given by her parents, relatives, addooyyee members, etc. and others are items she has prepared for herself. At the end of giving and receiving of the items, the girls carefully follow the process and take away the gundoo booree (tray the bride herself has made of grass). This is intentional enticing to put the guy in a dilemma. They conquer, subdue, and undermine him. They can attack him in groups; he must avoid physical and negative reactions. His use of masculine power against them could provoke consequential reactions from their brothers. Physicality is completely unacceptable and disrespectful to the relationship. He has to be patient, tolerant, systematic, and wise. If he fails to secure the item, he cannot be trusted to take care of the home, the wife, and properties at the absence of the groom in the future; he knows the negative images he carries along on behalf of his group. The song and the dramatic performances are intended to test his capability and responsibility. By extension, the person represents the family and the clan. Testing him is equal to testing the behaviors, the temperaments, and personalities of the whole family and clan.
At the home of the bride’s parents, the insults stop when the giving out of the bride to the groom looms. Thus far, the girls have been trying their best to look like they have been happy, superior, and powerful enough to beat the groom and his companies. However, it now becomes clear that at the end of the day, the victory will be that of the groom and his companies, who are taking one of their members as a wife. This separates them and creates a feeling melancholy to withstand the departure. Hence, they turn to and end up in crying (more on this later: mararoo).
The second moment for the insult song is when the groom brings home the bride. It takes place at the home of the parents of the groom. On arrival from her parents’ home, the sisters and relatives of the groom deny the bride the way to come into their home. They say that she does not deserve to be a member of the respected family. They equally perform physically to display their powers and identities to the bride. She has been insulting them with her friends at her place. It is now her turn to receive payback what she has done to them. The song is directed at insulting the bride. She is insulted for being dull, deformed, ugly, untamed, ill-mannered, not being a virgin, not having adequate gifts, not a good breed, being a witch, sorcerer, for being not self-controlled, promiscuous, etc. The groom has to negotiate with them to let her come in. By denying her entrance, the girls on the groom’s side also take money from him to have her come in with him. This kind of insult, bargaining, and negotiation at the moment of the coming in of the bride heightens, prolongs, intensifies, and empowers musical performances. It creates the highest point of the performance of insult song at the groom’s family home. It begins when the amaamota appear into view from distant.
|2.1.9. Kuftee cabdaa,||To not fall down,|
|Obboo dhabdaa,||To not miss Obboo,|
|Yaa eenyu suutuma deemi!||To walk forward, be careful.|
This song stresses that the bride is ill-mannered. It is meant to show that she has never been cultivated or cultured. She has not learned how to control herself. She runs eagerly to gratify her immediate desire, lust. She has coveted to be in bed with the groom, whom the girls on the groom’s side refer to as obboo9
. Ironically, while running in haste, it is possible for her to fall down and break her feet. This could keep her back and force her to miss what she has craved for. This part of the song signifies that she is running to reach for the place where she would gratify her lust. She has to be mannered, must control her erotic desires. Although it might not be true, the girls have created opportunities for themselves to insult her. She is not running, nor is she is not alone; she is accompanied by kaadhimaa10
, and amaamota. She comes on the back of the horse or mule, is helped to descend and escorted home by her best men. No opportunities for her to lead them, but to follow and to be accompanied by these groups.
|2.1.10. Way laloo koo||My Laloo,|
|hin laadhu balbala obboo koo.||I’ll never give my brother’s gate,|
|Okkotee taannashee,||The smallest gourd,|
|Uran gindii lamaa,||Pierced two plows;|
|Ofolee akka haadha ishee,||deflowered as her mother,|
|Uramtittii kanaaf||is this penetrated whore,|
|hin laadhu balbala obboo koo!||Will I never let in her!|
Song 2.1.10 shows that sisters disallow the groom from bringing his bride home. They keep the gates of their parents. They say that she is not a kind of breed who deserves to come into the home of the family. They are criticizing her improper behavior to fit for the groom and his family. The particular arrabsoo underscores that the bride is not a virgin. She has already been like her mother, deflowered and unfit to be bride. In Oromoo culture, marriage follows seera rakoo12
. The bride is required to be with her chastity and virginity. A girl has to avoid sexual intercourse, abstain sexually. The sisters and/or relatives of the groom have doubts that this particular girl fulfills this required quality of the culture. They are claiming that she is not cultured. They may not have doubts about her virginity; still, they perform this arrabsoo to satisfy their inner desire to insult her and retaliate as she has insulted them when she was at her parents’ home. The groom has all the responsibility to take care of his bride and should pay what is required on her behalf for the gatekeepers to have permission to bring her into his father home.
This interaction creates one of the most powerful and jubilant moments for arrabsoo at the home of the groom. The girls get power and energy to grill the bride severely and strongly. She has no chance to respond to their insults in the same way. She has already completed her part at her parents’ home. She can react only with her confidence, determination, and courage with glowing and powerful eyes. This kind of reaction is interpreted as her disproval of what the girls are saying in their insult songs. As it is their ways of competing, the girls on their part get more courage to be strong with the songs. This is the moment of audacity.
After the girls receive the money and let in the bride and the groom, the arrabsoo song continues until the announcement of the virginity of the bride. In some groups of Macca, it is named ‘sirba warroomii’ (song of family union) and sung to bargain positions in the union. The society perceives the lack of power and energy implies the missing of the touch of authenticity and some fundamental qualities in such songs. The songs create and portray a vivid imagination. Negative pictures are depicted symbolically and figuratively. On the contrary, power and energy demonstrate respect, completeness, and a strong self-belief. However, it is difficult to pretend to show these. Being genuine and authentic is appreciated. Social status is public, acting out cannot disguise weaknesses, though efforts are made. However, what one knows about oneself varies from what others approve. Strengths lie in self-perceptions and established self-confidence developed gradually. Virginity continues to be the worrisome issue:
|2.1.11. Yoo fiddee dhuftee,||if you bring it,|
|Aayyon siin jedhaa,||I’ll call you ‘Aayyoo,’|
|Aayyoo ishee jabduu,||‘Aayyoo’ the senior,|
|Sittan marmaaraa;||I’ll keep visiting you;|
|Yoo dhiiftee dhuftee,||if you leave it behind,|
|Faallon siin jedhaa,||I’ll call you ‘faalloo,’|
|Faalloo ishee cabduu,||the broken ‘faalloo,’|
|Sittan waraabaa!||I’ll use you to draw water.|
Song 2.1.11 underscores how much durbummaa (virginity, represented by the pronoun ‘it’ on lines 1 and 5) is concerning. ‘Faalloo’ is denotatively an empty bucket; however, here, it connotes the female reproductive organ devoid of virginity. If the bride comes with virginity, she will be respected and given proper place in the new family. It is a sign of decency. If not, she will not have that respect; she will be degraded and disrespected at their home. Her loss of virginity reflects her carelessness, her little concern for future life. The Oromoo are more concerned about the future than the present. The saying, ‘kan argatan irra kan abdatantu caala’ (what is hoped to get is more important than what is in hand!). One is expected to suspend one’s temporal pleasure and satisfaction for the more powerful and meaningful inevitable eternal satisfaction. The bride is expected to follow this principle. The song indicates the bride has to be encultured to this principle. She proves this with her virginity. Otherwise, she is considered careless and unfit to withstand inevitable temporal temptations which could hamper future lives. Virginity is an indication that she is a true bride to have acceptance in the new family. A bride who is not virgin is believed to be unfit to represent the new family at their absence. In Oromoo marriage, virginity is the most desirable and primary quality of the bride, upon which all other desirable qualities are to be built or established.
It is also required that the bride has acquired adequate skills and knowledge in home-management. She has to be equipped with basic and necessary skills and knowledge and has adequate understandings of the demands of homestead and livelihood. She is expected to learn these from her mother, peers, and lineage. She proves her learning and understandings of these by having household and other items along with her from the home of her parents on the wedding day. These items are meaningful. They are formally provided at the home of the parents of the bride and received in similar manners at the home of the parents of the groom. They are significant to display the wealth, wisdom, skills, knowledge, and understanding of the bride and her parents. These items can be gift from friends, relatives, and neighbors. Regardless, they are from people we love, appreciate, and share some kind of good days and feelings with her and her parents. In other words, they show that the family has good social relations, respect, and status. They also show they plan and execute their plans by preparing the items gradually for the marriage. These items cannot be produced overnight; they are handmade. The bride, her mother, family, peer groups, close relative, and/or neighbor provide gifts. Only a few of them are available for sale on markets. Some items are made by the bride; specifically, these include trays and other items made of grass,
The following song is one among many. It undermines the bride and her parents. The groom and his people have paid them an expensive dowry and took a very long time to acquire her. This shows that the family of the bride is powerful with a strong bargaining power that is expected to surpass those of the groom. In that case, she is expected to bring many fancy gifts. However, the song accuses her of not having any gifts or return-dowry. That she does not even have handmade household utensils. She is unskilled. This undermines the skills, thoughtfulness, and planning abilities of the bride and her parents.
|2.1.12. Baala hoffaa timboo,||The leaves of tobacco dry,|
|Afurtama hoo si qaraxnee,||we paid dowry forty,|
|Waggaa afur hoo si kadhannee,||we begged four years ‘n’ agree,|
|Meerre gonfaan immoo?||Where are your gifts?|
|Maal dhoksaan immoo?||What is the mystery?|
Arrabsoo attaches negative and shameful images, characters, personalities, behaviors, attitudes, etc. to the other individuals and groups who involve in the wedding from the opposite. Culturally adverse behaviors are attached to these individuals and/or groups. It is made of what is hated of girls, boys, wives, husbands, friends, the young, the old, groups, and the whole of the clan. Members of the other clan are given such images to be insulted and defamed. The features are made to be avoided by members in these manners. Its performances on such important stage can serve as a means of teaching to avoid such undesirable behaviors.
|2.1.13. Mukuma guddaa,||of big tree,|
|Muruun hin dhibuu,||cutting is not a problem,|
|Jiksuutu dhibaa;||the problem lies in falling|
|Qe’ee warra guddaa,||of the extended family|
|Dhufuun hin dhibu,||coming is not a problem,|
|Buluutu dhibaa.||The problem lies in staying;|
|Buluun maal dhibaa,||Staying is not a problem,|
|Xinnaa guddisuu,||It’s rearing the little ones,|
|Guddaa dubbisuu;||It’s caring for the elderly ones!|
Finally, arrabsoo becomes mild in its animosity and settles down to giving advices to the incoming bride at her new place. Song 2.1.13 focuses on how she can manage to live with the new group. The group identified in the song is extended and large, who are interlinked in diversified ways, particularly in cousinhood. The bride is expected to establish good rapport with all the old and the young members of the group. She should rear the younger ones and care and support for the elderly. She should give due respect for all members. Respect is reciprocal; one gives and takes in return. If she gives it them, she will also receive it back. That is all it requires to live in harmony in a large and extended group. The energy and the tone of song 2.1.13 are also mild. It is performed in a calm and cool manner.
In conclusion, arrabsoo is sung both at the home of the bride and that of the groom. The one at the home of the bride is sung by her and her addooyyee members. It is directed against the groom and his companies, group, and clan in general. The groom and his groups or clan members are depicted as foolish, greedy, coward, poor, naive, ignorant, and incompatible with those of the bride. Even though females are not excluded, the focus is more on the male gender. On the other hand, the one at the home of the groom is sung by his sisters, cousins, and relations. They portray the bride and her groups and clan in a similar light. It focuses more on the female gender. They are depicted as craving to satiate their sexual lust; they are ill-mannered, naive and not thoughtful; they do not think about and for the future. Arrabsoo is accompanied by a strong physical performance. The manners of performances accompanying it vary from highly energetic and powerful to mild ones. These are among the dominant themes and manners of arrabsoo.
2.2. Faaruu (Praise)
Faaruu is a praise song. It is opposite to arrabsoo (insulting song). It appreciates or adorns individuals and groups belonging to the singer. It is about admirations of their deeds, behaviors, achievements, and performances. It revolves around one of the culturally established desirable values. These include bravery, resolve, stamina, determination, unity, beauty, strength, honesty, integrity, dedication, wisdom, visionary, etc. Exemplary individuals and groups are referred to from history and comparisons are made with the contemporary ones. Characters are inheritable. A generation can imitate its predecessors. It could be reconstructed from members involving in economic, social, political, cultural lives. Such individuals attain the symbolism of the valuable qualities from their day-to-day experiences and interactions. The current Qeerroo (unmarried young men, qarree is for females) is inspired by the examples, concepts, ideas, strategies, and determinations to force the shrinking of the dominance of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)—the architect and dominant of the four parties forming the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front [EPRDF]—in Ethiopian politics. These come down from those of early generations.
The manners of performances of praise songs are more tilted towards ear-provoking. Its power lies in its poetic and semantic qualities. Its rhythms and performances are mild and have secondary roles. It is sung melodiously to be listened carefully to keep in memories. It demands the attention of the participants and audiences. It concentrates on and discriminates the elements and features that make it a unique form of Oromoo oral poetry and songs. It is beautiful, so it will be kept in the memories of the audiences for generations. This is the way they pass on from generation to generation in memories and tell stories about individuals and groups and the Oromoo in general. From those that are kept in memory, new ones are constructed comparatively and analogically as experiences. Therefore, the manner contributes to the continuity of the song genre and the construction of the history of the nation.
Praise song appreciates positive images to make members aware about desirable characters, behaviors, personalities, attitudes, etc. It is about the desired images and behaviors from girls, boys, wives, husbands, warriors, groups, clans, individuals in friendship, etc. These are enlisted to encourage members to act likewise. These are encouraged and motivated so that members will take them on next times in shaping their societies. Provable truth from members’ experiences are cited and decorated with poetic qualities in praising actions and characters of individuals and groups. In associating some good qualities to members, the girls must depend on some basic truth. Sheer subjectivity is denounced and made fun off. Audiences denounce hollow praise and question if the singer fails to articulate truth effectively. They ridicule her, her family and group and criticize her severely.
When the groom leaves home for the home of the bride to bring her, girls accompany him and his company with praise song. They praise their beauty, power, grace, elegance, and every other style for being in the mood and behaviors of wedding. Only the waa’ela (best men) of the bride is ridiculed or insulted at this moment. The best men are considered to belong to her.
|2.2.1. Amaamoteen addaattee,||amaamotee has whitened,|
|Hadaa birraa||become the flower of autumn|
|guba arfaasaa fakkaattee,||become the sprouting grass of spring,|
|Miinjeen keessaa gad aantee!||The best men become belittled.|
Song 2.2.1 is the praise of amaamotee. They are so embellished to become colorful in different clothes and attractive wearing styles. They are also graceful and elegant in their performances and unity. They look like bursting flowers of the autumn and sprouting grasses of the spring. They bear and demonstrate power and strength at grace, elegance and power at young age. They are desired to be so and have been provided with all necessary and possible materials and things to achieve and demonstrate such power at the homestead of the bride’s parents. That is what the girls are approving. On their departures, any missing quality is catered and fulfilled before the amaamotee leave. All the participants assembled on the wedding see them off after they are proven to be complete. The girls accompany the group (the groom, his best men, and their company) with praise songs. They sing the following praise song at the moment of their departure.
|2.2.2. Amaamota Obboo yaa mushurree||companies of Obboo you the groom|
|Amaamota Obboo yaa mushurree||companies of Obboo you the groom|
|Suman geggeessa||I’ll see you off.|
|Amaamota Obboo, Suman geggeessa||Companies of Obboo, I’ll see you off.|
|Kan baanee siifii, Ga’eelli kan milkii||We are here for you, let your marriage is of success|
|Suman geggeessa.||I’ll see you off.|
The girls also praise the group to whom they belong to. This can be the group in general or their particular members; the clans they belong to, their brave elders and seniors, the brothers and younger ones who are symbols of their bright future, their mothers who know how to manage the men and the brilliant sons and daughters and generous members of the group, etc. These groups and individuals are praised, admired, and appreciated for their skills, knowledge, generosity, strengths, and bravery.
The songs of the girls enforce and encourage the young men to perform acts of bravery. They are expected to react to the songs. Both play their gender roles. A young man who does not react to such songs of enforcement and encouragement is considered as coward and incompetent or incomplete (hir’uu/moomoo). Such praise songs press the young men to form groups and go to Baqqoo to kill wildlife (lion, elephant, buffalo, etc.) or the warfront to defend the land and the people to retain or attain fame. They instill courage and inspirations in them to perform acts of bravery. After their departure, the girls wait eagerly, enthusiastically, and with concern. They hunt for news about their progress. They worry for their health and peaceful return; they pray for their successful adventure and sing praising their names in their songs. 2.2.3 is one of such songs girls sing while the men remain on expeditions:
|2.2.3. Birraa birraa keessa daraarti baallii,||Leaf blossoms during birraa,|
|Goota zinnaara haarrii,||Brave men in grey bandolier|
|Akkam faarrii?||How is it going for you?|
The killing creates stages for songs and dance. The young girls get opportunities for songs. Killers, or those who have been to the battlefield, are received ritually and colorfully at home. The young girls create and sing memorable and powerful songs. Even though such occasions are meant for praise songs, they critically test the authenticity and trustworthy of the killings. It is after long severe criticism and undermining that they admit the trophy and praise the bravery of the killers and returnees. Such killings boost the social status of the killers, their wives, sisters, family, and the whole clan. They also boost the morale and strengthen the unity of the members of the society. The stage is full of the performances of different genres of songs and dances members of the two genders enjoy. They perform these separately within their gender and/or together. They generate various genres of folksongs, particularly the girls perform weedduu/sirba and the men perform geerarsa (oral folksong performed by men). They also perform ‘heemmolee’ together under the leadership of a male singer. The following is an example of weedduu with which the girls undermine the killer and the male hegemony:
|2.2.4. Elaa obboo koo dimbilaalaa,||my big brother this is small,|
|Meerra eeboon kee?||where is your spear?|
|Siif ilaalaa!||Let me see it for you,|
|Gabaa guutee,||it’s all at market;|
|Yaa qonqordaa,||like any marketable item;|
|Lafaa fuutee,||you pick it from the ground,|
|Na sossobdaa yaa obboo koo!||You soothe me with|
The killer (the man who comes home with the trophy) responds to the enticement of the girls’ weedduu with the following geerarsa song:
|2.2.5. Aasaatti dhufe seetee,||You thought it came in talk,|
|Aasoftee fuudhuu feetee?||And move to receive talking?|
|Qoosaatti dhufe seetee,||You thought it came in joke,|
|Qoqqoostee fuudhuu feetee,||And move to receive jokingly!|
|Dubareen biyya abbaa koo,||You girls of my fatherland!|
|Isa ani talbaa itti tumee,||I ground linseed for it,|
|Isa ani sarbaa itti dhumee;||I lost my muscles for it;|
|Isa ani goojjoo itti ijaaree,||I built a hat for it,|
|Isa ani qoonqoo itti xaaree; …||I troubled in hunger for it; …|
The stage of receiving the killer who comes back home with trophy becomes hot and powerful. The heat and power emanate from the competing identities. The identities create powerful and memorable weedduu, which the girls perform on one hand, and geerarsa, which the man and his companions perform in reaction on the other hand. Empowered by such songs, the stage of performances remains memorable to always encourage other young men for hunting and killings. The enticement is not discouraging, it motivates them. It creates a mean for competition. The killer has to prove that the trophy is the fruit of his own hard work and perseverance in front of hardship. Partly, he proves this with the power and intensity of the geerarsa he creates, which depict the pains and difficulties he has been through in the course of achieving the trophy. He has been in arid land tolerating hunger and thirst; he has struggled with fierce wild beasts; he has withstood the fierceness and wildness of the animal, its inflicting of physical and psychological provocations. His expel of authentic experiences in a beautiful poetic songs wins the hearts and minds of the girls and other attendants of the occasion. This provokes the praise songs of the girls.
|2.2.6. Iyyoo yaa bila’ii,||Oh the glamorous glaring!|
|Ilaa mee ilaalii,||Look at it carefully,|
|Akka goonni dhaabee loluu,||How the courageous fights in battle|
|Akka jandhi ateetii toluu!||How successful the brave man’s wedding become!|
2.2.6 is appreciation. The wedding is of the brave young man who has trophies. It is extraordinary and exciting. The display encourages and motivates other members of the group. It directly stands in opposition to 2.2.7 (arrabsoo) below:
|2.2.7. Utuu dur qottee,||Had you ploughed earlier,|
|Bulbulee dhugdaa,||would you have drunk hydromel,|
|Bulbulee dammaa;||Hydromel of honey;|
|Utuu dur loltee,||Had you fought earlier,|
|Diinqa amaatii kee,||to the innermost home of your mother-in-law,|
|Gola abbiyyuu kee,||The inner part of your father-in-law,|
|Gunfureen dhuftaa,||would you have come in gunfuree,13|
|Gunfuree arbaa,||Gunfuree of the elephant,|
|Yasee gafarsaa;||Yasee14 of the buffalo;|
|Eessan agarta,||Where do you get see,|
|Isa hoo in baqattaa?||After all you escape them all?|Figure 1
and Figure 2
portray hairstyles of brave men. Though taken from Karrayyuu15
not Macca, names of the hairstyles and their symbolic meanings remain the same. Sometimes, the name goofaree is given to refer to Figure 2
in Macca Oromoo. A person at this age says, Goofaree filuun yaadaa/yasee luleessuun yaadaa (I think of combing goofaree/I think of brushing yasee) in his geerarsa. He discloses that he passes days and nights thinking to be a killer to be famous. Bravery is glowing in his innermost (foolataa). If he weds after killing, the wedding will be like the one described in song poem 2.2.6. The person in the song poem 2.2.7 is depicted as coward, directly opposite to the one in 2.2.6. He is not courageous enough to react to the demands of the girls. He is not a kind of breed, as he lacks the guts to be so. He used to escape when his peers and age mates were busy discussing, competing, and going on expeditions. Now, he has nothing to display and comes to the home of his-in-law in shame. In fact, the degree of his shame is exaggerated.
Not being mentioned in the girls list of brave men can anger brave young men. However, individual variations can take some to the levels of irritations. It may enforce few of them to abandon anything else. It can obsess them. Praising the brave ones who have killed and those who have been to battlefield and leaving others out provokes anger and pressures them to join. On such stages, some get angry and take immediate and unstudied measures. At times, they expose themselves to dangers. Those who are lucky to escape dangers and come back home, recount the degree of their angers, the decisions they have taken, and the dangers they have put themselves in. Those who have exposed themselves to such difficult circumstances boast the degree of their bravery. One among such songs is as follows:
|2.2.8. Achi ilaallaan Maa’oodhaa,||I looked over the horizon to Maa’oo,|
|Maa’oo muka tarreetii;||Maa’oo is covered with lines of trees;|
|As ilaallaan waa’eedhaa,||I looked back home to see the songs,|
|Waa’ee durba qarreetii;||Those sung by virgin young girls;|
|Waa’eettan gala jedhee,||I feared going back to the songs,|
|Maa’oottan calaa jedhee||I swiftly left for Maa’oo!|
Song 2.2.8 depicts the forces and pressures girls impose on men with their songs. With their music, girls mastermind men to perform bravely at battlefields. They impose their desired values on men to act bravely. They have the power and energy to enforce the men what they like. They insult and ridicule cowardly acts. Even if they do not openly insult, they ignore names of ordinary persons from their praise songs to imply that they are cowards. Ridiculed men cannot have social respect and places among their peers and society in general. It is difficult for them to win the hearts and minds of girls to marry. This is what the geeraraa (singer) of the song 2.2.8 depicts in his geerarsa. During the Italian occupation period, a young man was recruited to go to battlefield to fight with the enemy. He knew that he could escape and return home instead of going to the front. However, the girls’ ridiculing would wait for him from among his peers. That would make the opportunities of his getting married difficult; he could not withstand their insults and challenges they impose in the future. Maa’oo was a mountain on which training of soldiers and the battlefield occurred. This contrasts with waa’ee, normally a genre of oral song which girls and women sing in praise of their secret lovers. However, here, the singer represents praise songs sung openly on such stages to appreciate bravery. Lines 1 and 3, 2 and 4, 5 and 6 create parallelism. That is also the nature of the rhyming scheme. Line 6 carries the automatic decision the singer of the song 2.2.8 takes considering the power of girls’ songs.
|2.2.9. Ilaa shunkurtaa koo,||Look at my onion,|
|Shunkurtaa kosii,||That I harvest from my garden,|
|Yaa mooqa hin bulloofnee,||The porridge that is not well ground,|
|Elaa gurguddaa koo,||Here are my elders,|
|Gurguddaa lammii koo,||My senior citizens|
|Yaa goota hin dulloomnee!||Ever fresh brave men.|
The name of the praised persons can be renowned in the groups. They can be brave elders who used to be war leaders. They can also be wise persons who are famous at arbitrations and giving advices and guidance to the innocent citizens to go on right paths of life. The rich and generous persons who provide for the needy people and save their lives can also be famous. One’s mother or father can belong here, too. It indicates that they are hard workers and blessed to have the skills, knowledge, wealth, and the belongings that they are endowed with. Smart young guys can be praised for their social acceptances and approaches in their groups and social lives:
|2.2.10. Falaxaan na dhaanii,||Beat me with rive,|
|Uleen dhaqna cabsaa,||Stick breaks the body;|
|Alaqaa tamaarii,||the boss of the learners,|
|Michuu astamaarotaa,||Peer with the teachers,|
|Lulee dhaqna baskaa!||Whose body butter softens?|
This song praises a young person who is a student in the modern education. He is praised for his capability to fit well into the system. He enjoys the acceptances of the teachers at the school. He is elected as students’ leadership and considered as social equal of teachers. The dichotomy between the students and teachers is due to his social concordance, knowledge. and wisdom in the school environment. Teachers are commonly from distant places and unfamiliar cultures. The teacher is a socializing bridge between the students and the teachers. Though a student, he is found out to have qualities nearer to or tantamount to the teachers. Because of his character, the teachers have accepted him and make their communications easier with the learners. He is serving as a bridge between the two. This is an important personality trait. Social issues and socializing characters are admired in Oromoo culture in general and the Macca in particular.
2.3. Mararoo (Elegiac or Dirge)
) referred to it as elegiac), we can also translate as ‘dirge.’ Mararoo is also named as mararree, garuulee, ininayyoo, and others, but mararoo is most commonly used. In wedding process, it takes turn from defamation when the giving away of the bride to the groom looms at the home of her parents. Departure frustrates the bride and her peers. The bride departs her home, parents, peers, and girlhood to worry. Mararoo emotionally reacts to the departure with unhappy mood and style. They concede submission to the groom and companies. She worryingly criticises her parents for giving her away. However, ultimately the criticism falls to a fate that destines them to be girls who are forced to leave their parents’ places and homes for those of the boys in marriage. Mararoo also recollects the good times the girls have together, which is no longer possible. It expresses this pitiful situation and emotion with tears in the intimate friends, the sisters, the mother, family members, etc. Only the singing and drumbeating girls perform physically. The emotion steals their powers to perform. Mararoo is mainly listened to carefully to remember. The names of the singing girls are also remembered if she is articulate and creative to produce powerful and memorable songs.
Mararoo enumerates the past and mitigates the strong emotion of anxiety and pain resulted off the looming separation from family, home, and intimate friends. The wedding girl may enumerate grievances and mistreatments she has suffered at her parents’ home. This is especially strong if she has been exposed to a cruel stepmother or stepfather. Mararoo may also express fears, frustrations, and uncertainties expecting her in the future; it advises the bride how she could manage living with husband and new family. Moreover, it creates a bridge between the relations the bride has had with her mother and would prefer to have with her mother-in-law. These are contradictory issues. Marriage separates young girls from parents, freedom, girlhood, each other, childhood experiences, and memories. She could have joyful moments and memories with some, most, or all of these. Above all, she could have memories of the good old days with her addooyyee members. One may overlap with the other. Among many things, the girls remember and recount going to dancing and singing events, fetching water, collecting fire woods, grasses for their embroidery and other arts, and doing the embroidery together. On all such stages, they play and enjoy together and share memorable issues, knowledge, and experiences. They learn important life lessons. They understand the true essences of friendship and trust. These have strong lasting effects upon them to remember and long for. The separations from these are truly agonizing.
The wedding girl departs her home and her family. The departure from her mother is the most worrisome for her. When she sings about this, the mother feels guilty for negotiating her giving away to the man in marriage. It creates mixed feeling in the mother. The situation is frustrating and disturbing and ignite creative imagination in the wedding girl and her peers. The wedding girl expresses her naivety, immaturity, and uncertainty on joining unfeeling strangers (greedy aliens, their lifestyle, and wild treatment). Sometimes, it appears as if it occurred unexpectedly to provoke strange emotions in the peers, her mother, sisters, brothers, and relations.
Mararoo begins with the following song. The wedding girl typically or directly addresses her mother from the start. She knows that tears are not only inevitable but also nearer at hand the moment such songs come into being. It also seems that that is the main purpose.
|2.3.1. Seenaan dhaama yaa haadha koo,||I will recount my story my mother,|
|Seenaa ishee imimmaan biraa,||the story which is mixed with tears,|
|Hin rafiin dhaggeeffadhuu,||don’t sleep, but listen,|
|Yoo rafteef qalbeeffadhu!||When you sleep explore!|
This is followed by a sort of grudge and regret. The wedding girl seems to question why the mother has negotiated giving her away. She questions her love of motherhood. It is a sort of saying, “Am I really causing you some troubles?” “Is rearing me a problem for you that you have given me away when I trust you most of all?” The bride is departing her mother; she does no more demand food from the grain crops, butter to oil her hair, space to sleep on; the mother can use all these for whatever purpose she want them for. This causes the mother suffer strong pain and put her in big remorse.
|2.3.2. Ayyo ayyolee,||my mother,|
|Ayyoleen kan koo,||a mother of mine,|
|Iddoo ciisa koo,||where I sleep,|
|Gumbii dhaabbadhuu,||stand your grain store,|
|Cabaa irbaata koo,||what I eat,|
|Dilbii kaayyadhuu,||store for years,|
|Dibaa mataa koo,||what I dye of my hair,|
|Samaa kaayyadhu!||Store in your better gourd.|
The wedding girl also addresses her father with some complaints. The father appears to be asunfeeling and insensitive as the mother to the departure of his daughter. He does not express his feelings and his heart openly. He pretends to be fine with everything. He controls himself and lives in difficulties without complaint and reflections. However, this is not his honest feeling. In reality, he feels strongly about her departure, even if he does not express it openly. In her lament song, the wedding girl speaks out that as a human being, he feels and he cannot avoid it even if he wants to disguise his feelings. Even if he does not feel today, he will feel it in the future when he misses someone to help to bring a calf or silence a crying child. He will feel it when gets old and cannot help himself to reach to the places of his heart. The following is the song that expresses it.
|2.3.3. Bilee ya bilee hoo,||Bilee you my bilee,|
|Leenci dulloomee ya bilee hoo,||an old lion my bilee,|
|In aadu seetee?||Do you think it does not roar?|
|Inuma aadaa,||It does roar indeed,|
|Jaarsi dulloomee,||The retired elderly person,|
|Yoo jabbiin hoote,||When a calf suckle,|
|Yoo mucaan boosse,||When a child weeps,|
|Na hin yaadu seetee,||Do you think you’ll never think of me?|
|Inuma yaadaa!||You will think of me surely.|
In marriage, girls are taken to the home of the marrying boys. They never take the boys they are marrying to their own homes. The places of the groom where they are going to live could be far away from their parents’ home, which makes visiting difficult. Moreover, they are forced to feel that the parents have negotiated with alagaa (aliens) to give them away. This restriction and imposition force the girls to feel they are disliked and boys are liked. The girls feel that this is the act of cruelty and absence of kind feelings. Song 2.3.4 portrays the treatment of girls by their parents and their feelings towards these. They feel it is unfortunate to be a girl. She works hard to manage all and still the parents give her away. They only like her helping them to accomplish their works. She fetches water from rivers, collects firewood, milks cattle, prepares food for the family, takes care of the aged/elderly and the young immature ones, protects the weak and helps the disabled, etc. She is so kind and busy to manage all their businesses, households, and matters. All in all, the girl is busy with the innumerable activities her parents have at home. But she is not even given proper food; she is submissive and does not impose her wills on others. In spite of all these, her parents sell her out unfeelingly.
|2.3.4. Muka maa jigsuu daddaraartuyee.||Why cut tree my blossom,|
|Gaaddisa qe’ee?||it shades the homestead?|
|Durba maa jibbuu, ||why hate girls my blossom,|
|Sassaabduu qe’ee?||she manages the homestead?|
|Haadha keessummaa, ||she hosts guests,|
|Cabaa hin tuffattuu||she does not undermine lame,|
|Dabaa hin dubbattuu, ||she does not speak bad,|
|Guddaa dubbiftii, ||she speaks to the elders,|
|Xinnaa guddiftii, ||she rears the little ones,|
|Caccabaa nyaattii, ||she eats bits and pieces,|
|Gadi cabdee bultii, ||she bows down to live,|
When the time comes, all are collected at once and together. The daughter is hugely and practically missed at home. As a favored child, she is intimate and has a special relationship with her mother and helps and follows her closely. Above anybody else, the departure moment incurs a huge emotional intensity upon them. They know it would come; afterwards, the household burden the daughter used to carry will fall on the shoulder of her mother. Both of them know this fact. Still, they are related by their gender roles. They carry similar responsibilities. The mother practically trains her daughter to properly discharge her responsibilities at her own home. These situations create, develop and maintain an intimate relationship between the mother and the daughter. When marriage requests comes for the daughter, it comes to the father, who asks for the permission of the mother and members of his clan. The permission of the mother is vital because of their relationship. The father is desperately in need of the services of his daughter; however, he has negotiated her marrying and departing. He could suppress his sorrow to justify and tolerate to react. The looming of their departure incurs strong and unbearable temptations on the daughter and the mother. Knowing the facts, the daughter sings song 2.3.5 to demonstrate this temptation and her reactions:
|2.3.5. Geeshe geeshe woo, geeshe geeshe woo,||Geeshe geeshee the tree, geeshe the tree,|
|Daddaraartuyee, daddaraartuyee,||that blossom, that blossom,|
|Dayee deesse woo, dayee deesse woo,||my mother, mother, who labored to deliver,|
|Egaa geesse woo, egaa geesse woo||it’s come, it’s come,|
|Jajjabaadhuyee jajjabaadhuyee.||Be stronger, be stronger!|
| || |
|Maaloo baabbaa koo,||why the dad of mine,|
|Baga si dhooftee, ||it’s good you kick,|
|Gufuun balbalaa, ||the obstacle on your gate,|
|Sit’ hoo dhaabbatee, ||you plant it for yourself,|
|Baga si qabde, ||it’s good that it catches you,|
|Mukuun galgalaa, ||the boredom of the evening,|
|Sit’ hoo jaal’atee, ||you liked it.|
The wedding daughter is in deep powerful emotions, but weakened and helpless at last. Weeping and with a softly sobbing voice, she reminds her parents to be stronger. However, she appears to be resentful with her father for his greediness. Song 2.3.5 is also appropriate to discuss the literary artistic qualities of song poems. It produces a model text to demonstrate the ways in which the poems determine the style of the drumbeat and the physical performances to create musical harmony. On the first line, we see the word geeshe/ɠeəʃe/. It does have little semantic significance in this context. It plays more relevant and visible roles to create poetic qualities with deesse /deəse/ and geesse/ɠeəse/. The word “deesse” is the addressee (mother) and “geese” (arrival) is the time of departure. The words create strong prosodic and rhythmic harmony: rhyme, meter, alliteration, assonance, consonance and rhythm. In linguistic terms, the three words are joined with minimal sound differences. The concept of strength is in terms of the relationship of their sounds. The pattern is semantically more relevant in the order geeshe/deesse/geesse. There are two syllable words in all the three cases. They are all the same in their qualities of vowels and consonants: medial diphthong vowels and geminated final consonant syllable. The last vowel is short in all the cases. This may imply the weeping and stumbling of the singing lips. This shows metric and prosodic equalities. Both begin with voiced velar sound /ɠ/ and voiced labio-dental sound /d/ and end with voiceless fricative /s/ and /ʃ/ on the second syllable. The basic second syllable sounds in the words, /s/ and /ʃ/, vary in being alveolar and post-alveolar, but both are voiceless fricative; air goes out freely through the gap the alveolar ridge and the post-alveolar ridge create with tongue, respectively. That forces the production of weaker weeping voices at the ends.
In many ways, we can explain poetic forms are given prime importance in Oromoo creative song arts. Song 2.3.5 exhibits repetitions, words of limited semantic irrelevance, conjunctions and others; these are exploited to bring about metric equality, rhyming scheme, parallelism between verses, and, above all, rhythmic powers and intensities. The different combinations of sounds create the rhythms of the poem and pattern that of the song. By the song, the departing bride addresses her mother: “mother, it’s come, be strong (dayee geessee jajjabaadhu!).” However, compared to the actual feeling, this does not mean much to depict the power of her emotional reactions underneath the language: it is an understatement. Geeshe, dayee and woo become repetitive and added to play such poetic and artistic significances. Geeshe daddaraartuyee/deesse, egaa geesse jajjabaadhuyee (geeshe the blossom/mother, it’s come be stronger)! Other than what we have discussed above, the linguistic features exhibit combinations of powerfully voiced musical sounds. These include the alveolar plosive, /d/, alveolar trill, /r/ and front close vowel /y/ in daddaraartuyee; and post-alveolar fricative, /ʒ/, plosive bilabial, /b/ and the velar explosive in jajjabaadhuyee. The combination of these rhythmic and prosodic forms appear to underscore power or strength, which the departing daughter advices her mother to be in.
The sound qualities determine the rhythmic qualities. The rhythmic qualities in turn control and determine the style of drumbeating and physical performances. The last includes about the strength, power, speed and intensity of the song music. In 2.3.5, the singing voice that comes out of the singing girl begins strongly as the first syllables of the two words. However, they cannot remain this way throughout to strengthen and empower the claim; at the end, it fades with a powerless musical voice. The theme is about helplessness. It is not about strength and pride; it is about being weak and helpless. The situation is frustrating. It is a moment of high emotional intensity, especially for the departing daughter and mother. Both are weeping deeply. It appears unique and others appear to be greedy to them. However, it is an expected, familiar and known tradition. The bride cannot make an extended, stronger and more appealing case. It is already negotiated and she has been given to the groom. The ending of the three vital words in soft voiceless sounds imply the poetic qualities control the style and power of the song and the music. The voicing qualities in daddaraartu/jajjabaadhu are unable to invite similar voicing in the song and performances. The song is reduced to voicing and is not accompanied by a physical performance. The vital prosodic features in the poems of the songs determine the nature of the voices of the song.
The bride departs her addooyyee members to undergo giving–receiving marriage rituals; they continue to sing to the same or similar tune. They address her mother and father subsequently. They do this on behalf of her. At the moment of her departure, its rhythm and topic are changed in song 2.3.6. This song follows from song 2.3.5. Her addooyyee members continue soothing her mother to advise her to collect her strength. Immediately, they move on to address her father. This is only to soften his heart with melodious musical voice. Lastly, they proceed to request for the kind of gifts they want from him: a heifer and a young bull.
|2.3.6. Geeshe geeshe woo,||geeshe, geeshe the tree,|
|daddaraartuyyee||that blossoms, that blossoms,|
|Dayee deesse woo,||mother, mother the deliverer!|
|Egaa geesse woo,||it’s come! It’s come.|
| || |
|Jajjabaadhuyee. Dayee deesse woo,||Be strong, be stronger! mother deliverer,|
|Egaa geesse woo, ||It’s arrived, mother deliverer!|
|Jajjabaadhuyee. ||be stronger! Be stronger!|
| || |
|Maaloo baabbaa koo||why my dad, the dad of mine!|
|Maaloo yaa haadha koo, ||You my mother!|
|Fidi tirmaakoo ||Give out my gifts!|
|Raadaafi dibichaa, ||heifer and young bull|
|Fudheen didichaa, ||I’ll take and stride!|
|Jette addooyyeen hoo, ||says the beloved friend!|
The second stanza of 2.3.6 is addressed to the bride’s father and mother. It is sung by her addooyyee members, who are her mouthpiece to demand wedding gifts. They are demanding a heifer and a young bull. These symbolize the new, young, powerful and reproductive. Fidi (give me), raada (heifer), dibicha (young bull) and didicha (stride/march forward) are essential words. In most cases, they combine alveolar voiced sounds to have prominence in sound musical qualities. This changes the mood and the tension as it is fruitless. The parents come out of the prevailing emotion to focus on blessing the bride and the groom together and giving them necessary gifts to push life ahead. This also helps the bride to stride or march forward in life.
Furthermore, the wedding girl addresses members of her addooyyee (intimate friends). They are vital parts of her life. Song 2.3.7 shows the time for separation is looming and they cannot help each other at this moment. None of them can change about the looming departure. They are all helpless; it is a moment of cruelty. They sing the song of lament and weep holding and hugging each other.
|2.3.7. Baranee yaa baranee,||This year only this,|
|Baranoo baana jennaan,||Were we supposed to evade,|
|Falamaa taate qarreen,||Our girlhood becomes contentious,|
|Sake in bannee!||We were done away my heart!|
|Natti hin marmiin qoloo,||Don’t be closer to me dress,|
|Na hin marariin qarree,||Don’t soften me girlhood.|
|Egaa gargar gallee!||We’re separated.|
The worry of separation of the addooyyee members is primary. Song 2.3.8 reveals that the girls feel they are under the watching eyes of men. Time runs fast: they are growing up are coming and they are attracting the attention of men without having adequate time to play and enjoy life with their addooyyee members. When the time of farming is over, the young men turn their attentions to hunting for and seducing the girls. In this, they try to identify appropriate girls that fit their tastes and desires. If they get one, they send elders to her parents to request a marriage. This shows that they are in need of marriage. Even though they are not told explicitly, at heart, the girls know this process and sing song 2.3.8 in suspicions:
|2.3.8. Suuyye hoo,||Suuyyee,|
|Suuyye yaa gabaabe hoo!||Suuyyee the short,|
|Qamaleen midhaan fixxee,||Ape has destroyed the harvest,|
|Muka duuba naannoftee,||It went round the tree,|
|Gabareen idaa fixxee,||Peasant has completed work,|
|Durba duuba naannoftee,||She went round the girls,|
|Qarmiitoo midhaan qabaa,||It’s the farm yard that has the crops,|
|Qarree kootu hidaa qabaa,||It’s my girlhood that has debit,|
|Jabeessaa nurraa qabaa,||Firmly keep away from us,|
|Suuyye yaa gabaabe hoo!||Suuyyee the short!|
As they know the tradition, the girls predict and start thinking about this before the time has come. They feel only disappearing can help them escape from being given to a man in marriage. Thus, they sing the way to overcome the threat marriage poses with the following stanza:
|2.3.9. Kaloo yaa kalaliituu,||Melody that which is melodious,|
|Qarre hoo yaa qananiituu,||Girlhood that which is precious,|
|Wal fudhannee banna hoo,||Let us disappear together,|
|Birraa bariituu!||When autumn falls.|
Once they marry, there is little opportunity for the girls to come back together as when they are young girls. Only chance can help them get married to the same place. Gone are the days of girlhood, when they could enjoy time together with relatively little pressures from their parents. Marriage brings that joyful time to an end, and it is worrisome to the young women. One asks her intimate friend the time when they will see each other again with the following song:
|2.3.10. Yaa kakattaa Gibee,||The gorges of Ghibee River,|
|Hiriyyee joobiree,||The dearest and smartest intimate,|
|Wal argaan yoomiree?||When will our union be?|
The other sings the following song in response to the question of her peer:
|2.3.11. Dhakaa kakattaa caabii,||The stone of a hill place,|
|Hiriyye nagaan taa’ii,||My friend stay in peace,|
|Wal argaan guyyaa Waaqii!||We can come together only on the day God will.|
At times, mararoo can be given a different meaning. The first line of 2.3.12 underscores praising addooyyee can only stir the emotion of the mother of the bride. Weeping does not have any significance. It is the fate of the home of the father of the girl. No weeping can help to stop the separation. It is known that it will occur. As we can see from verse 10 and beyond, it also carries insults of the groom. It mixes the genres.
|2.3.12. Addooyyee faarsuun maaluma haa baasuuf?||What’s the role of praising addooyyee?|
|Garaa haadhaa raasuuf, garullee;||only stirs mother’s emotion, garulee;|
|Garuu hin ooltuu hin boo’inaa.||It can’t be stopped, don’t weep anyways;|
|Bishaan gamaa hin waraabinaa,||don’t draw the water over the horizon;|
|maallachoo qabaa||it has algae,|
|Garuu hin ooltuu hin boo’inaa.||It can’t be stopped, don’t weep anyways!|
|Manni abbaa durbaa,||the home of girls’ father,|
|mallattoo qabaa garulee,||does have a symbol garulee;|
|Garuu hin ooltuu hin boo’inaa.||It can’t be stopped, don’t weep anyways;|
|Garulee hin beekuu laman deebisaa,||I don’t know Garulee, I’ll say two lines;|
|Gadhee akka keetii,||Nonesense of your kind,|
|Manan eegsisaa garulee;||I’ll make home keeper, garulee;|
|Garuu hin ooltuu hin boo’inaa!||It can’t be stopped, don’t weep anyways!|
Mararoo softens the hearts of the aliens, too. They share the feeling to treat her kindly at their hands once she becomes member of their group. The emotion has a mechanism of control. Her addooyyee soothe the bride viewing marriage is necessary and an unavoidable evil to bear.
Mararoo is sung immediately before the handing over of the bride to the groom and his companies. It marks the point of departure from home, parents, peers, girlhood, good old day, etc. Departing causes the most difficult feeling for the bride and her parents, especially for her mother. Her parents are giving their beloved daughter away to an alien. She cannot help singing the song. Surrendering girlhood freedom to shoulder marriage and family responsibilities is worrisome. The daughter and her parents share the same feelings and worries. The bride could also express a long time grief she has sustained due to the lack of one of her parents. She could complain the greediness of her parents to give her away. On her behalf, her peers demand her parents to give her cattle to take along with her to live on. Furthermore, the bride warns her immediate younger sister not to take her place. Mararoo sometimes blames girlhood for the fate forces her to depart her home and family. Whatever the subject matter could be, mararoo is only sung; it is devoid of dances.
2.4. Ansoosillee (Bridal Praise)
Ansoosillee is a song sung in reaction to the announcement of the deflowering of the bride, a proof that she has been a virgin girl. The announcement proves the prior virginity of the bride and the successful deflowering of the groom. There has been a common fear on both sides lest the bride could already be deflowered. This is not merely disliked, but abhorred in Oromoo marriage. The inability of the groom to deflower also provokes fear. The announcement kills the two suspicions. The family, the girls, the companies and other assembled members of the wedding have been expecting eagerly and become overwhelmed. All of them feel happy and joy about the deflowering, as it underscores the successful accomplishment of the desired for marriage. This is a moment of joy. The song emanates from the joy of the participants of the wedding to involve powerful physical performances.
Ansoosillee ends the stage for the wedding ceremony. The name ansoosillee has something to do with ‘going red’ in ritual terms. The word ‘ansoosillaa’ refers to a wild plant which is rich with red color. In fact, it is red-rooted, and the song is named after this plant to refer to the going red or the wearing of red colors by the bride and the groom. This ritually implies ripeness, maturity and sacrifices. It shows deliverance and happy ending of the wedding. Ansoosillee is performed in reaction to the announcing of deflowering. It is a rhythmically powerful song to give the wedding stage happy ending. It has physical power and intensity. The power and the rhythm are instigated by the inner emotions of the participants and actualized through physical performance of the participants and the drumbeating of the singer. This is a relief and good news after suspenseful evening, which the participants have been eagerly waiting for long. They become jubilant in reaction to the announcement and express the reactions happily and powerfully. Both the songs and the dances create unified rhythmic power and give the song momentum.
Procedurally, ansoosillee takes from arrabsoo following the announcement of the prior virginity of the bride. Until that moment, the bride has been insulted cruelly and severely for being not virgin, ill-mannered and not cultured. Most of all, her failure to keep her virginity is the main issue of concern for everyone. The turning point begins when the best man contacts the couple immediately after they have been left together. The best man is the first to be informed to communicate to the mother of the groom. The latter takes a handkerchief which bears the bloodstain and ululates to announce the news. The girls question, challenge and test her for possible drama. They sing counteractively to give the song more power and intensity. In other words, this serves as a transition between arrabsoo and ansoosillee. The mother certifies by singing and dancing courageously and determinedly carrying and displaying the handkerchief with blood.
|2.4.1. Singer: Gindee gindillittii,||Strong like stem,|
|Haadha dhiiraa shimintittii,||The bootlicker mother of the man,|
|Sobdee ililchitii,||she ululates falsely,|
|Meerre shaashiin immoo?||Where is the handkerchief?|
|Respondents: Gindee gindillittii,||Strong like stem,|
|Haadha dhiiraa shimintittii,||The bootlicker mother of the man,|
|Sobdee ililchitii,||She ululates falsely,|
|Meerre shaashin immoo?||Where is the handkerchief?|
After a while, the girls admit the news of her virginity and sing ansoosillee to reconcile with the bride. This is at the announcement ceremony with their acceptance of the news. It changes the arrabsoo to praise and show happiness from the proof of the bride’s virginity and her admittance to the new family. It shows victory after long process. It is accompanied by a strong and powerful beating of drum and dance named saraddaqa in Macca and dhiichisa in Tuulama and Arsii. Dancers’ heels knock the ground powerfully contracting and elongating their heads and necks harmoniously in the air. It begins with the testing of the honesty of the ululation, proceeds with admittance and ends with empowering the bride at her home. The best man is under oath to help her. He is considered her brother and has been insulted along the bride. Now, he is also praised.
|2.4.2. Singer: Ansoosillee hoo,||Singer: Ansoosillee,|
|wareen deebitee,|| The news has come,|
|Respondents: Haa deebituu,||Respondents: Let it come,|
|duruu deebitii!|| It always used to come,|
|Singer: Obboleettii …||Singer: The sister … (name of the best man),|
|Qallayyoo akka …|| Slim like …|
|Waree deebisee!|| Has returned the news,|
|Respondents: Haa deebistuu,||Respondents: Let it come,|
|duruu deebistii!|| It always used to come,|
|Singer: Ansoosille hoo,||Singer: Ansoosillee,|
|Wareen deebitee!|| The news has come,|
|Respondents: Haa deebituu,||Respondents: Let it come,|
|Duruu deebitii!|| It always used to come!|
In song 2.4.2, he is portrayed as slim and strong. His sister, too, is slim and strong; this is to announce splendid news about her. Under the physical appearance are aim, courage, motive, determination and stamina. These features are signs of strength and sources of her success. The girls side with the bride at the end of the wedding ceremony as she has a story to be told. They are reconciled with her. In fact, they are proud of her as they belong together in girlhood.
Finally, the girls praise her and sing to advise her to be strong and powerful in bargaining her place in the new family. She is complete and nothing makes her fearful in the bargaining process.
|2.4.3. Singer: Gindee Gindillittii,||Singer: Strong like stem,|
|… gichillittii,|| … (name of the bride) the brave,|
|Gulantaa dhiitanii,|| Let they kick the steps,|
|Mee sitti haa xiixanii,|| Lest they speak harshly to you|
|Ija dhiitii buli!|| Be strong in front of them.|
|Respondents: Gindee Gindillittii,||Respondents: Strong like stem,|
|… gichillittii,|| … (name of the bride) the brave,|
|Gulantaa dhiitanii,|| Let they kick the steps,|
|Mee sitti haa xiixanii,|| Lest they speak harshly to you-,|
|Ija dhiitii buli!|| Be strong in front of them.|
The poetic qualities are relevant to analyze their contributions to the musical performances. The voices in the poem guide the song, the dance, the beating of the drum and the total physical movement of the participants. They harmonize the totality of the musical performances. One can imagine the repetitive nature of the song and its rhythmic patterns. It is more or less similar and sung in a similar style. Happiness empowers and guides the manner of performance. It continues with motivating power to have an effect on all the styles of the performances as it shows the success in the ultimate objective of the wedding ceremony. In song 2.4.3, ‘Gindee Gindillittii’ is a metaphoric address to the bride. The phrase is full of voiced sounds occurring around velar and alveolar ridges. Their first sound of the first word is velar plosive /ɠ/ followed by front upper vowel /i/; the next forms consonant cluster made of velar nasal /ɳ/ and alveolar plosive /d/, which ends in front open diphthong /æɘ/. All are voiced. These begin with velar and end with open front vowel in most cases. They realize the nature of suppressing and ejecting powerful voices. The suffix -illittii is two syllables referring to second person clever/strong feminine gender. The sounds originate from the lateral approximant alveolar /l/ underscoring test and strength and alveolar voiceless plosive/t/ underscoring feminine gender both receiving stress. These are accompanied by front upper vowel, marking verbs referring to second person, beginning and leading the rhyming scheme of the stanza. The sounds come from deep down to outside. The combination of such sounds and their structures determines and guides the rhythm of the song; it also reconstructs and explicates the meaning. The power and stress in the stanza incite accompanying drumbeating. The family and the clan have chosen the girl and her family to marry. However, these girls have been suppressing her positive images, and have never praised her thus far. With joy, they are praising her for her strength, determinations and dignified heroism. Other participants accompany the girls in jumping up and back to butt the ground with their heels. This is from the bottom of their hearts with glamorous and glowing sounds that come from their mouth, their drumbeating, their physical movements and performances. This makes the performance a powerful, natural and authentic artistic piece.
It is a reconciliatory and winding up performance. She has maintained her integrity, fulfilled and accomplished her responsibility as a girl. She has proven she is a well-nurtured, thoughtful and far-sighted girl. She cares about the names and integrity of her parents. She cares about making her own future home. She knows how and in what she has to pay sacrifices for her future life. That is the social responsibility of girls and how they gain respect in the society. Fulfilling the requirements and discharging their responsibilities have to be praised. By fulfilling these, she makes the girls proud of her as they now belong together. At the same time, she has proven her dependable personalities, for which the new family can trust for further responsibilities. She can help them prosper, be famous and maintain their integrity. She can contribute vitally to their success. For this, she deserves praise.
On the other hand, there must be reconciliation. They have to make peace and become united. They have to maintain and strengthen their sorority relationship. Here, she has to establish the social network that she will miss from her birthplace. She has to develop anew and maintain social interactions to learn the world and the new place and families. The new groups of girls have to lend a hand, support and teach her about the new social structures and vice versa. After all, they are one. They share girlhood and womanhood together. The same thing will be expected of each and every one of them at their respective marriages.
2.5. Fala/Mala and Raaga (Songs of Resolution and Prediction)
Songs of fala (resolution) are meant to show the ways of solving the existing problem and the songs of raaga (prophecy) are meant to predict the future consequences of the current state of being. Burning social and topical issues become agenda for the girls on wedding stage. With their songs, girls suggest or forecast the ways out of such social, economic, political or cultural problems. They address social dilemmas and puzzling issues. They predict the outcomes of the current states of being or problems. Whether the issue is directly about themselves or other worries of the larger society, they are the ones to address them. The songs of fala (resolutions) address and communicate solution using songs; the songs of raaga (prophecy) tell how some processes will culminate. In both cases, the elders suggest listening to dibbee (the drum), which the girls’ beat as their sole basic musical instrument. This is a longstanding tradition in Macca. The genres of the songs lie outside of all of the above four different genres of songs to be considered as a peculiar and self-sufficient.
In performing it, the girls beat the drum. They sing the song in call–and–response. Their performances are neither powerful nor powerless. It is accompanied in no or mild physical actions. The respondents do not dance to the song. They simply listen carefully and react in melodious rhythmic sounds. Other audiences equally listen carefully when the singer sings out the poem. All members of the society pay attention. The problem-solving songs are neither intended to praise nor insult; these are the prophesizing ones. They are interested in neither appreciation nor defamation. They seem to focus on alleviating the prevalent problems at hand in society and prepare the society for the new developments in the future. They seem to be more objective, solution-seeking and indicate more likely outcomes. Instead of appreciating or defaming, one solution is appropriate and valuable to the issue at hand.
Problem-solving and predicting songs are distinct in that they are more aural than physical. They are more about business and subject matter. This is better addressed in beautiful and melodious songs than showing emotions with physical performances. They are similar to mararoo in their nature of performance. The effectiveness is actualized in audibility.
It is believed better to illustrate with exemplary and specific incidence. This makes it self–explanatory.
|2.5.1. Yaa handaqqo handaaqqoo,||You cock the cock,|
|Eessa handaqqummaan kee,||Where is your cock-ness,|
|Kan dereera hin buunee,||If you don’t descend steep slope,|
|Kan barii hin iyyinee?||If you don’t crow for dawn?|
|Yaa Akaako Akaakoo,||You Akaakoo the Akaakoo,|
|Eessa Hakaakummaan kee,||Where is your Akaakoo-ness,|
|Kan bareeda hin fuunee,||If you don’t wed to beauty,|
|Kan walii hin dhimminee?||If you don’t care for identity!|
Song 2.5.1 narrates about the marriage requests that come for a girl and the right choice that has to be made. Two different individuals asked for her hand marriage. One was a poor young man and the other was a rich adult man. Her parents faced a dilemma to make a choice from the two for her future. If they would give her to the young poor man, she would be poor. If they would give her to the rich adult one, she would not be happy in her future life. While this dilemma was still hanging on, a wedding stage occurred. The elders requested to listen to the beating of the girls’ drum as they knew they were going to suggest a solution for the dilemma. One of the girls sang the song naming the clan of her choice, Akaako, where from the young man came. It was up to the clan to help their member to get married. This was already known as buusaa-gonofaa17
in Oromoo tradition. Failing to do so would be an insult for members of the Akaako clan. Therefore, the dilemma was solved as the Akaako took the responsibility.
Raaga (prediction) is forecasting the future. It involves understanding and predicting what will happen in the future. One genre of girls’ folksong deals with such subjects. Though not limited to the wedding stage, it is one type of folksong that occurs in it.
|2.5.2. Ishooleen ishoolee hoo,||It is pleasant and triumphant,|
|Talalituun bishaanii,||As the cleanest and purest water,|
|Beerawii18n galuufii hoo,||Will the soldiers’ coming home be,|
|haa bariituu birraan!||When will the autumn fall.|
This song had prophesized the coming home of the men recruited for military services during the Dergue era. It was sung during the prelude to the fall of the Dergue regime. The Dergue government in Ethiopia proclaimed what is referred to as beerawii (compulsory military services) for young men, who were abducted and forced to give these services. Even those who were not abducted lost taste for marriage, as their future lives were uncertain. Young women remain idle as they failed to attract the interests of young men to get married. Thus, girls were left single (haftuu). They wanted to get married, but there were no men to marry them or to request them. Therefore, they were worried. They sang in secret to reflect this situation:
|2.5.3. Bokkaan caamuu didee,||the rain failed to stop falling,|
|Caamsituu bitannaa;||we will hire rain-dryers;|
|Kan nu fuudhu dhibee,||to marry us have we no one,|
|Mangistuutti himannaa!||We will petition to Mangistuu!|
Mengistu H/Mariam was a military junta leader named Dergue from 1974–1991 to institute compulsory military service and abduct citizens. He was a dictator and controlled all power at his own disposal until he was toppled in May 1991 by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) guerrilla fighters. In fact, the girls knew he was the source of the problem; however, they also believed that he had solutions for it.
It was after long baffling and lifeless years that the girls finally invented a song about hope. They sang the hope in 1990 and hope was realized within a year or less than that time in 1991. Their hope and predictions were realized after long puzzling years. The Dergue failed the next year and the soldiers came home. However, it was not easy for them to get married and establish families within short times.
3. Summary and Conclusions
Oromoo girls compose and perform artistically powerful genres of folksongs. These include arrabsoo (insult), faaruu (praise), mararoo (expression of agony), ansoosillee (expression of joy) and fala and/or raaga (resolution or prophecy) and sing them on weddings. These have been analyzed within their natural contexts using the theories of folklore, ethnomusicology, anthropology, sociology, gender, literature, linguistics and art. They play respective roles; they have specific moments and contexts that they are relevant to or fit in.
In this paper, the genres were arranged along the occurrences of wedding processions. Arrabsoo and faaruu are common for both, but priority is for the former to address the main wedding purpose: add powers and intensities to the occasions. While arrabsoo focuses on ridiculing undesirable personalities, characters and behaviors, faaruu focuses on encouraging desirable characters, personalities and values of the culture. They advise the bride, the groom, members of their families and relatives and their clans to develop the desirable and avoid the undesirable behaviors and character traits. Mararoo occurs at the home of the bride to express her feelings on her departure from her home, family and intimate friends with whom she has grown up. It is an emotional spell on the part of the bride on departure. It also soothes them all to remain strong. It could help to soften the hearts of her parents to give more gifts and the marrying family to be kind. Ansoosillee is sung to rejoice the success of the groom at his home in reactions to the announcement of the deflowering of the virgin bride. It displays the happy ending of the wedding at the home of the groom. It also advises the bride to be wise and strong to feel at home in the new family. This ends the wedding ceremony. Fala and/or raaga (songs of solution or prophecy) usually occur during the evenings before the wedding day whenever social concern exists. They aim at resolving family, social or communal issues and can be sung at any moment of the wedding stage.
We can realize the semantic and temporal relationship underneath the songs. Arrabsoo and faaruu are binary oppositions. Arrabsoo explicates weaknesses of the other group and faaruu praises and recounts the strengths and good qualities of one’s own group. They, respectively, disclose bad and good characters. Mararoo stands in opposition to ansoosillee. This expresses frustration of the bride on her departure from her family, home, friends and girlhood. It helps to garner her supports from different members. Ansoosillee expresses joy after the bride is proved virgin and the groom succeeds. It welcomes the bride into the family of the groom. Fala focuses on suggesting the ways to come out of the existing problem; it is likely for there to be an important social or cultural issue at hand at the moment of singing. Raaga forecasts the future as a consequence of the present states. They can be topics of discussion among members and elders. In terms of time, fala and raaga can oppose as one deal with the problem at hand and the other forecasts the future depending on the observations of the current states of being. The variety adds the artistic beauty and shows the talents of the girls to create. This also shows the roles of the girls in enriching the culture from multiple perspectives.
Nuptial songs display strong cultural wisdom and poetic creativities of Oromoo girls. They exhibit the talents, wisdoms, knowledge, understandings, desires, motives, love, fears, anxieties, dislikes, emotions, etc. of the girls and the Oromoo in general; they also reflect girls’ composing skills of song poems. The songs show social relations among different groups: addooyyee members, wife–husband, daughter–parents, daughter–parents-in-law and families from the two sides, clans, etc. These relations are ignited with cultural values to force men fulfill the requirements they demand with their songs. Girls want these to be shared and maintained among the members to mark identities. Girls’ songs exhibit powerful artistic talents and give meanings to the specific moments of Oromoo wedding ceremonies. These begin with language structures and arrangements (meter, rhyme, repetitions, etc.) to create basic rhythm. The latter guides and determines the manners of drumbeating and the physical movements in the dancing the specific moment requires. These form a pattern and harmonize the complete musical performances. These artistic endeavors have the power to entertain, inspire, influence, encourage, unite, create sense of competitions, soften hearts, inculcate motives, promote creativities, retain memories, enrich traditions, show visions, enliven and change their society. They give power, intensity and add memory to wedding ceremonies. With this artful language, Oromoo girls record historical events and evidences that remain in the minds of citizens passing from generation to another. The artistic compositions and performances are instruments of self-expression and emancipation. They are sung and performed with energies and powers. With these, the girls inspire and motivate or ridicule and undermine masculine power. The songs are sung on the wedding day or before. Before the wedding day, the girls rehearse, taking adequate time for singing, dancing and entertaining to satiate their musical desires. It lets them insult the other group or praise their own members enough. Desirable characters are defined for all gender and age; individuals’ or groups’ behaviors are evaluated culturally.
Macca Oromoo girls compose, articulate and sing these varied genres of songs artistically on weddings to entertain, encourage, advise and/or sooth participants, empower the wedding and ultimately inculcate identities to shape the society. They can help either to maintain traditions, to inform or to encourage for change and transformation. Girls have spectacular skills and melodious voices to play vital roles in arts and artistic performances though they are physically weaker than men. The powers of such songs are realized in their dictating, directing, and shaping the actions of men in the desired ways. Such songs exhibit and reflect the different aspects of the lives of the girls and keep the traditions and statuesque of the society. Today, these societies have lost their traditional spaces, including the formal systems that accommodate them. The researcher recommends the detailed study of each genre, as they have rich and varied discussion points.