Bahamian oral tradition through folk music and storytelling
What determines a true Bahamian? Our oral tradition by way of folk music and storytelling helps us to find our identity; it helps us create a link with the next generation in an attempt to keep our native culture alive. Moreover, oral tradition is more than history, because it creates bonds with the past. Oral tradition is simple, but, it is very rich because of the information it contains. Its roots lie in the oral traditions of the Bahamian people which bear not only their histories but their ways of understanding the world and their place in it. What is shocking to me is when I hear that the “Bahamian people don’t know where they come from’. Young people are occasionally criticized for mimicking the cultures of other nations, especially America. People say we have lost our culture. However, it is clear that our culture still holds true and it originated from storytelling and Bahamian songs.
The most important tradition was storytelling. Later myths and Bahamian folktales came along, and invited the readers to tap into a network of stories that connect human lives. As we look at folktales there are many different types that still hold true today. The beast tales of the under water world with myths and ledges like Mermaids in Pinder’s Point, then the porquoi tales that teach lessons and the trickster tales like “Anansie and the spider or Baboki and Barabbi. These stories or myths intertwine multiple stories, by authors who believe in their stories and eloquently read or tell each one like poetry. When we look at children stories and adult novels, I would say the more things change the more they stay the same. Nevertheless, these tales are mostly for entertainment or to teach a real life lesson, but, they play a major role in our Bahamian oral tradition.
Therefore, all through Bahamian history, one can find stories that either tell of our ancestor’s hardships or exaggerated stories that...
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