I haven’t posted much lately, and that’s because I have been too busy traveling. In late February, I attended an annual meeting of Uganda n’eddagala lyayo (Uganda and its medicines), Uganda’s oldest association of traditional healers. The group entertaining the crowd that day was led by one Nakayima, a singer who has since become my dear friend and close research consultant. She has been an excellent travel guide for some of Buganda’s historically significant ritual sites.
This weekend, I begin recording some of her vast repertory of ritual songs sans drums and rattles. That technique has worked well for me before as a means of getting a clear rendering of the song texts, so I am excited to begin. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy these stories and images from our travels.
These places and their stories live and breathe in oral tradition, but this is a part of the world where people don’t depend on Jan Vansina to tell them that those traditions constitute this region’s historical records. The characters and themes of those storied places appear in Nakayima’s songs as well. By taking me to see these places and meet the people who take care of the shrines, she provides me with critical context for understanding her repertory of ritual songs.