Tales in the Paasaali Dirge: Structure and Moral Lessons from the Past
Among the Paasaala people in the Upper West Region of Ghana who speak paasaali, dirge performance and the execution of the tale go hand in hand; the two genres complement each other. This paper investigates the close relationship between tales and dirges and establishes some of the reasons that bind them together in the Paasaala funeral context. By using the theory of ethno-poetics and methodologies such as close observation of live performances of dirges, interviews with poet cantors and cultural custodians of some selected Pasaala communities, recordings of live dirge performances as well as references to some documented sources on dirges and tales, the researchers find that there are different structural types of dirges among the Paasaala, but the marriage between appellations, the tale, and song is unique, and it is one of the most complex forms. This union is imbued with several merits, and these merits range from the aesthetic to the utilitarian.