Love Songs

Love Songs The Anuak love song seems to be of recent development and frequently operates outside of the normal village dancing situation. It is sung in small groups, within the age-set as a relatively private type of music making. The drum beat accompanying the love song is more improvised and less stylized than that for the Agwaga or Obero and usually played on something less than a proper drum. A tin can or a gourd will usually suffice. Unlike village drums, such accompaniment instruments do not require the permission of the chief for their use and they do not disturb the village. The love song is sung with a high degree of improvisation with songs frequently coupled or cut short.

  • Texts: The words of a love song are not too important. It is the occasion that is important. The love song often describes the condition of the singer who is usually young and usually poor as the Anuak count poorness. The young man usually laments his poorness in lack of dowry, and because of this, his inability to marry. He uses the love song to express this frustration and to cry against the wrongs of losing his love to a rich man or an old man. The dominant theme of love and lost love quite accurately reflects actual courtship problems among the tribe. The love songs usually do not include words of warfare and fighting, but instead they do include phrases of praise to each other in the age-set.

  • Form: A love song does not have the same exactness about it as does an Obero or Agwaga. They are often mixed together, a part from one love song may be joined with several others. Or, the singer may sing the first part of the song, mentioning the names of the people, come to the ending and say, "I send my greeting in a letter to you," pauses for a moment and then repeats from some part of the song. The occasion and the individuals present will help to determine the performance.

  • Values: It may be that the young people use these songs as a way of stating a preference for their life style rather than that of the adults. The old men consider them to be a symptom of the young people's dissatisfaction with the cultural values as expressed in the Agwagas and the Oberos. The adults believe that the singing of these songs will take the young people's attention and interests away from the war songs and the traditional interests of the tribe.