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Oral Literature in Africa

Ruth Finnegan

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1This volume is complemented by original recordings of stories and songs from the Limba country (Sierra Leone) which are freely accessible at:​collections/​rfinnegan001.html

2Ruth Finnegan’s Limba collection was recorded during her fieldwork in Limba country in northern Sierra Leone, mainly in the remote villages of Kakarima and Kamabai. Recorded mostly in 1961, but with some audio clips from 1963 and 1964, the collection consists of stories and occasional songs on the topics of the beginning of the world, animals and human adventures, with some work songs and songs to accompany rituals also included.

3Performances were regularly enlivened by the dramatic arts of the narrator and by active audience participation. Songs in this collection are accompanied by the split drum (gong) known as Limba nkali ki, although story songs are unaccompanied. The predominant language of the recordings is Limba (a west Atlantic language group), with occasional words in Krio (Creole), which was rapidly becoming the local lingua franca at the time of the recordings.


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