Ruth Finnegan: Limba Stories and Songs
The World Oral Literature Project is pleased to host Ruth Finnegan's collection. Details of the full collection can be browsed on DSpace@Cambridge by clicking here.
Ruth Finnegan’s Limba collection was recorded during her fieldwork in Limba country in northern Sierra Leone, mainly in the remote villages of Kakarima and Kamabai. Recorded mostly in 1961 but with some audio clips from 1963 and 1964, the medium used was an old style narrow tape battery recorder (3 ¾ and 1 and 1 7/8 speed), cutting edge for its time. The collection consists of stories and occasional songs on the topics of the beginning of the world, animals, and human adventures, with some work songs and songs to accompany rituals also included. The songs and stories are performed mainly by men; the leading performers being Karanke Dema and Niaka Dema, both middle-aged dwellers in Kakarima, the former a smith, drummer and singer. Women also told stories but, on the whole, were not so admired for their storytelling as the men, and so are less represented in this collection; the same is true of child narrators. Storytellers were recognized as experts but not as specialists, fulltime, or hereditary; and they did not receive pay for their performances. Performances were regularly enlivened by the dramatic arts of the narrator and by active audience participation. Songs in this collection are accompanied by the split drum (gong) known as Limba nkali ki, although story songs are unaccompanied. The predominant language of the recordings is Limba (a west Atlantic language group), with occasional words in Krio (Creole), which was rapidly becoming the local lingua franca at the time of the recordings.
Collection: Limba Stories and Songs
Collector: Ruth Finnegan
Date(s): 1961, 1964
Language(s): Limba (Hulimba Ha, various dialects)