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Art, Performance and Ritual in Benin City$
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Charles Gore

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633166

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633166.001.0001

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Songs for the Gods

Songs for the Gods

(p.134) 6 Songs for the Gods
Art, Performance and Ritual in Benin City

Gore Charles

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the role of songs used in performance by participants at shrines, often in conjunction with various artefacts. Artefacts are central to the practice of ohens. The ideas and practices of priests and priestesses are largely performative and do not rely on verbal exegesis. But song is an important part of the traditions of the shrines and offers a purchase on how significance is made performatively and contextually. The chapter explores a sequence of songs performed at an annual festival in relation to the particular events that occurred. It examines the meanings constructed by the use of song within the conventions of its practice, as well as the socially negotiated contexts of particular performance sequences.

Keywords:   performance sequences, priest songs, annual festival, ohens, urban shrine

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