chapter  Four
74 Pages

Doing it for Everyone to See The Oral Artistry of Dzigbordi in Performance

This chapter presents the emerging field of African oral literature, which highlights the creative use of metaphor in the context of performance. In Dzigbordi, the drums speak, the songs speak and the dances speak – all communicating pieces of a larger musical message. Like any music form, Ewe dance-drumming goes through phases of taste, created and maintained in local aesthetic discourse, itself influenced by transient preferences for antiquity and change as well as the politics of competition and rivalry. The chapter examines the life stories and artistry of five Dzigbordi women: Dasi Amedahe, Esther Amegble, Dzatsugbi Agoha, Sylvia Segla and Xornam Tagborlo. For the dancing, Dzatsugbi uses several basic dance steps to set up the signature movement of the dance. Dasi Amedahe is a strong personality whose pleasant and humorous demeanour masks a life of struggle and hardship. Esther is a 33-year-old woman who represents a unique personality within the Dzigbordi group.