Women's Voices from West Africa

Women's Voices from West Africa

An Anthology of Songs from the Sahel
Distribution: World
Publication date: 02/23/2012
Format: Hardback 1 b&w illus, 18 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-35670-3
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Aissata G. Sidikou and Thomas A. Hale reveal the world of women’s songs and singing in West Africa. This anthology—collected from 17 ethnic traditions across West Africa—introduces the power and beauty of the intimate expressions of African women. The songs, many translated here for the first time, reflect all stages of the life cycle and all walks of life. They entertain, give comfort and encouragement, and empower other women to face the challenges imposed on them by their families, men, and society. Women's Voices from West Africa opens a new window on women’s changing roles in contemporary Africa.

Author Bio

Aissata G. Sidikou is Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies in the Department of Languages and Cultures at the United States Naval Academy. She is author of Recreating Words, Reshaping Worlds: The Verbal Art of Women from Niger, Mali, and Senegal.

Thomas A. Hale is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of African, French, and Comparative Literature in the Department of French and Francophone Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature at The Pennsylvania State University. He is author of Griots and Griottes: Masters of Words and Music (IUP, 1999) and editor (with John William Johnson and Stephen Belcher) of Oral Epics from Africa (IUP, 1997).


There is a very limited source literature of this kind in French and local African languages, but nothing comparable in English. . . . It will open doors.A valuable contribution to the corpus of literature on African women's verbal art.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Powerful Voices of Women in Song
Song Lyrics
1. Marriage
2. Children
3. Women in Society
4. Death
Appendix: Original Transcriptions of Selected Songs