Aspects of orature in selected Gikuyu pop songs
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This study is premised on the notion that Orature is dynamic and that it adapts to changing historical and social realities mediating that reality based on keen observation and interpretation of phenomena. By taking cognizance of this, we sought to investigate the relationship that exists between Orature and forms of contemporary verbal expression particularly the pop song. Our task was to investigate how, why and with what effect aspects of Gikuyu orature have been reappropriated in the Gikuyu popular song. Aspects of orature, delineated as texts, style, technique and function have been identified in twenty Gikuyu popular songs and discussed in terms of their artistic, aesthetic and communicative significance. The process of change on the Gikuyu orature forms and ways in which these traditional oral forms adapt themselves to the new modes of thought through the pop song are also discussed. The study demonstrates that, while operating in contemporary situations and committed to, though sometimes limited by, contemporary imperatives, popular music is firmly tethered to a recognisable body of artistic resources in orature which serves as its inspiration and guide. In showing the crucial role that orature occupies in the Gikuyu popular song, this study has in effect reaffirmed the dynamism of orature forms and thus refuted the popular notion that orature forms are disappearing. In addition, this study demonstrates that, popular song is neither a departure nor necessarily a corruption of the traditional folk forms; rather than corrupting orature, the popular song breathes new life into it so that orature becomes relevant and potent in the contemporary society.