“Songs and Oral Literatures in the National Interest”

Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopian Languages and Culture Academy (ELCA), has commenced a two days national conference on indigenous songs and oral literatures in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism at Nelson Mandela Hall today, 4th of February 2021.

Mr. Habtamu Sisay, State Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sports, stated at the opening session that culture is the product of all human life.

“According to UNESCO, culture encompasses the spiritual, material, moral and psychological characteristics of a community or group and is not limited to art or literature but includes lifestyle, social interaction and fellowship, values, traditions and beliefs,” Habtamu said.

According to Habtamu, oral literature has contributed a great deal to the development of the industry by contributing poetry and melody to both our traditional and modern songs. Our songs not only describe our daily lives but also contribute to the development of the country and the people by raising great national issues, he added.

Habtamu finally said that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is working diligently with AAU to study in depth, identify and use the cultures of nations, nationalities and peoples for social and economic benefits in order to determine the growth and future of our country.

Yohannes Adgeh (PhD), director of the Ethiopian Academy of Languages ​​and Cultures Academy, on his part said, ELCA is studying a number of languages ​​and cultures of our country in collaboration with stakeholders which have similar objectives and missions, such as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

This coordination enables them to combine knowledge, money, labor and resources to make a difference for the development of the country with reduced workload, waste of resources and knowledge, Dr. Yohannes clarified.

 “Singing and poetry play a role in creating communication and entertainment, strengthening social bonds, developing social and religious institutions, sustaining and stabilizing cultures, and so on. In addition to entertaining, music and rhetoric are used to express national agendas, both in support and in opposition, and to protect the enemy,” Dr. Yohannes elaborated.

Different scholars from AAU, Bahir Dar University and others presented studies conducted on songs, poems, melodies and oral literatures focusing on their backgrounds, singers, contributes and organizers. Associate Prof Zerihun Asfaw, Tilahun Telila (PhD) and Aster Mulu (PhD) are among them.

By: Abraham Girmay

Photo: Andualem Aseffa