conclusion: community harmonies
Each is invariably memorable, a perfectly worked-out expression of
skilled composition, though often disarmingly simple. These catus
have appealed to, and shaped, the taste of generations of people. . . .
They bring to mind, in addition to aesthetic judgement, a host of
literary, political, and cultural contexts, indeed, a whole world view.
velcheru narayana rao and david shulman,
a poem at the right moment, 4
Tforms
he songs presented in this book are complex poetic
through which their singers convey ‘‘pro-
vocative interpretations of themselves and their society’’
(Briggs 1988). As vital oral resources that reinforce the
existence of competing statements in any context, these
songs impact listeners and singers in diverse ways. While
the songs analyzed in these pages could be seen primar-
ily as a source of pleasure, they also lend themselves to
new contexts and are remembered and recalled to recre-
ate and imagine older contexts (Rao and Shulman 1998,
3). Thus, in addition to o√ering endless amusement and
critiquing male dominance, they also serve to induce
feelings of solidarity, to develop and nurture the skills
of interrogation, and to sharpen women’s powers of
negotiation.
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