Thursday, May 2, 2013


Ethnographic and Life History Approaches

(a Case Study based on Chuqala Butta's Personal Narratives)

Cushitic Salale Oromo of Northeast Africa, Ethiopia

Indiana University
Spring 2013 

In this study, using ethnographic and life history approaches, I examine folksongs and narratives of displacement obtained through interview from Chuqala Butta, 92, a Salale Oromo in Ethiopia. Chuqala Butta is a living testimony of displacement and resistance against influences inflicted upon him as a young boy and on the Salale people by the Shawan Amhara rulers. Using this case study, the project undertakes the thesis of folklore used as an emancipatory act against a disempowering situation in Ethiopia and to subvert the overriding memory of conflict-induced displacement. Toward this end, in addition to personal narrative accounts, I posit, folklore can serve as a wellspring of data to better understand the negativistic social transformations from the people’s viewpoints and to examine closely the way such transformations affect individuals, communities, societies and the nation. Analysis of the local dimensions of social transformations, I propose, benefits from close investigation of the life experience of the people, their history from “below” and politics vis-à-vis the (trans)national processes.  (

In the first part of this study, I discuss the research themes, objectives, and rationale for the case study research. Establishing a methodological and theoretical framework also paves ground toward the analysis of the data obtained through interview and in-depth conversations from the victim of forced internal-migration put against the backdrop of negativistic social transformations. In the second part of the study a thorough analysis of ethnographic examples of songs and narratives are presented focusing on displacement and negative social transformations the Salale Oromo experienced under the Shawan Amhara rulers.

Thus using ethnographic and historical approaches, the overall objective of the present study is to better understand the dynamics of social transformations among the Salale Oromo in Ethiopia and the creative resistance against the negative effects of social transformations, such as displacement, unclear land policy, uneven distribution of resources and unfair representations of power. In particular, the research will seek to document and analyze the personal narratives and folksongs of displacement to examine the diverse nature of changes in the lives of community and individuals. Using interviews and retrospective analysis of the data, themes to be focused in the context of social transformation and its effects include: the causes of human dislocations; the negative social transformations channeled at the village, community and individual levels, and means at work as a “creative resistance” to subvert domination and to effect “creative coexistence” during such internal social crisis. Thus, the project aims to provide an evidence-based picture of negativistic social transformations among the Salale using the case study of personal life history and derive key conclusion about the Oromo and their place in the region.  

Folklore as a cultural potential force can serve as an emancipatory action under a disempowering situation and to expresses the threat of domination as creative resistance. There is a gap in current theoretical discourses, I posit, concerning the role and importance of folklore and resistance culture to address the social evils of global change and “internal colonialism”: displacement, “economic/social inequalities” or “uneven development,” human rights, and environmental injustices. As part of my ongoing PhD research, the present study draws on and contributes to available relevant literature. Based on available data and my fieldwork experience I argue “internal colonialism” under the neo-Abyssinian domination not only caused the Salale Oromo to internally migrate and abandon their home but also opened a vacuum space in their culture and, in so doing, systematically denied them their identity.

Methods and Theories
Oromo folklore scholarship necessitates an appropriate and intellectually stimulating theoretical analysis and new models based not on positivistic explanation of mere facts but rather an intellectual and attitudinal framework to pursue ethnographic Oromo folklore research goals. To this aim, folklore produces a different kind of “imagined community” utilizing elements of shared dialect(s) and the vernacular instead of the neo-Abyssinian linguistic and cultural domination and to produce a national sublime, to mobilize collective resistance against domination and help the Oromo nation to come into being through self-reflexive poetic calls to action. Toward this end, I use a constructivist stance that builds on the people’s lived experience by making sense of the world they live in in different ways. Constructivist stance sees human existence as contextual, relational, and ethical. The ‘construal’ act can only be understood in terms of living in a shared world socially negotiated through shared perspectives with others. From my fieldwork experience among the Salale, culture plays a major role in social transformation processes as a wave of dynamics internalized in the consciousness of the people and direct their life activities. The oppressed have ways of “world making” and “unmaking”. One such way of coping with oppressive structure and challenging hegemony is through creative resistance used as emancipatory act. The songs, stories, rituals and festivals performed under a disempowering situation, are not simply resistant to change or counter to positive social transformation. They are voices of the oppressed, symbolic subversions at work from “below” against dictators who cling to power as allies of western capitalism and corrupt local officials representing proxy political parties.  

Local symbolic performances are emancipatory resistance acts by ordinary people (peasants, women, artisans) who constituted it both spatially and temporally in their own social reality. The resistance acts/words eventually become part of the local historical experience and constitute a stream of sociocultural knowledge. Thus, when culture is transformed into emancipatory acts, folklore (or art) used as creative resistance becomes emancipatory because the reaction is not to a one-time incident or a temporal oppression but resistance grounded in a belief in fundamental human freedom. This hypothesis makes ethnographic, folkloric and historical approaches viable methods in studying social transformation and resistance culture from the people’s perspective. For the purpose of the present study, life history approach will be used aided by the micro-history perspective set within the macro-historical context of the Oromo in Ethiopia.

Interviewing Life History
Interviewing life history technique can facilitate for investigating specific social, cultural and historical issues through the individual life story which represents the link between individual lives and wider public events such as victory, prosper, and liberation or incidents such as war, defeat, famine and natural catastrophe, and displacement (Atkinson, 1998). Through interview techniques and narratives of life history intergenerational patterns of behavior, opinions and attitudes passed down through families can be reenacted (Atkinson 1998:25). As a micro-history, these interviews woven around a single life experience of an “outlier” character considered as a “normal exception,” can be useful for studying a single aspect of a person’s life in the context of a more complicated life story. Life history is an approach that uses a form of individual interview to document the respondent’s account of his/her life. Life history interviews can take three different forms of stories: the naturalistic life story is told in a given culture without shaping by research intervention; the researched or narratives “gathered” for research purposes, and the reflexive-recursive, i.e., life stories constructed in self-consciousness (history), following postmodernist’s crisis of representation. All forms of life history interviews require both the interviewee and the interviewer to cover a topical breadth and extensive duration, i.e. to go into depth to uncover experiences across long periods of time and also to evoke strong emotions such as that of Chukala Butta about losing one’s home and land to a suppressive regime.

To arrange the narrator’s experience into  a meaningful pattern and to relate them to the present and other current life events, to help reconstruct both his lived (and imagined) life experiences, it is useful to put the interview process into successive segments. The life history of the individual may be put into three categories: the dimension aspect, i.e. the main forces that affect the person’s life; the turning phase, changes that the person makes and demarcates periods of life, and, adaptation, that is, changes and continuities maintained throughout the person’s life course (Mandelbaum, 1973). This shows that the life history as a narrative technique is not just a narration of events but a two-way communicative relation between the interviewer and the interviewee, a respondent-led process that facilitates organization, clarification, and justification of the life-experience.  Life history is recorded or written down focusing on the detailed accounts of the life of the individual including memories about family background, families, neighborhoods and community, everyday life events, childhood, youth and adolescence to the adulthood period. It also explores issues such as marriage, housing, children, friendships, and discussing later life experiences.

Folkloric and Historical Approaches
The aim of this project is as already said to examine resistance against a negativistic social transformation processes occurred to the Salale Oromo in Ethiopia by analyzing folksongs and personal narrative accounts of displacement using life history and micro-historical approaches. From the life history perspective, positionality and subjectivity are tolerated since the narrator claims to be originally part of the events and tells the story in the first person, the assumptions which led scholars to focus on the point of view from which the event is storied, i.e., the narrator (Velcic, 1989).  

In this project, I use life history and microhistorical methods as part of historical approach to analyze the personal narratives recounted by the informant, Chuqala Butta, considered as a collective lived experience  of negative social transformations among the Salale Oromo in Ethiopia. Historical approach is pertinent for the purpose of the study because, according to Woods (in Wang et al 2007 history describes the temporal scope in terms of the contemporary (very recent) events; a defined intervening period (a century, a reign, a dynasty, a decade or a particular event); an originating episode or set of circumstances that gave rise to the entity for which the origin is claimed, the origin that places the history of one people as early as possible and transplant for the ‘rest’ the “barbarian pasts” into a world chronological scheme much later than that of the West (p86).

The folksongs and narratives considered for this project are artistic responses to the vigorous transformative experiences the Salale Oromo endured during the internal migrations imposed upon them by the successive Ethiopian regimes. In folklore, according to Mirna Milcic (1989:81), a great diversity of personal narrative forms in everyday communication include true stories (Dobos 1978), memorate and fabulate (Degh 1974), stories about life (Slulli 1984), local anecdotes and practical jokes (Bauman 1981 and 1986), rural diaries (Motz 1987), and family anecdotes and personal lore (Dolby-Slahl 1985). Such personal accounts throw light on the individual and the social world since stories told as “personal experience” are precious data for their natural way of reconciling social values. The study of human historical relationships which Raine Eisler theorizes in her cultural transformation theory (Eisler 2002 in Duncan 2007) and social transformation requires detailed analyses of individual facts. Historical approach involves “theorizing the trivial” using life history interview method, investigating particular facts through micro-oriented social history vis-à-vis the macrohistorical approach used by traditional social historians (ibid).  In the wider social arena when history is considered as competitions between scholarly interpretations rather than the final truth, ‘little facts’ of the sources (narratives) are more dependable, and a closer relation to ‘little facts’ entails a stronger ‘reality effect’. Since people live in more than one context, simultaneously, realities traverse at micro- and macro-levels.

To collect such sources of data covering a wider setting and connecting chunk of events over a long period of time can be difficult for the ethnographer to obtain reliable information from a single personal narrative. The lack of appropriate methods, theories, and secondary academic sources utilized to locate the specific study within an existing body of literature would be also another limitation that can significantly affect the quality of the ethnographic search.  In his Oromo folklore collection and interpretation, by interviewing informants from Shawa (and Salale), Enrico Cerulli’s (1922) generated the understanding of social and cultural history of the late 19th century Oromo through the representation of what some ethnographers came to call ethic perspective, or “outsider’s point of view” (see also Ege, 1996). An etic perspective thus refers to a more distant analytical orientation to the ethnographer’s experience.  Based on Cerulli’s data and interpretation, however, one can infer the tensions between the Oromo and the Shawan Amhara rulers and between the Oromo factions (between resisters and collaborators) toward the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. The emphasis in emic representation is on allowing critical categories and meanings to emerge from the ethnographic encounter, rather than from any existing models. Using those data sources, the ethnographer relies on a cultural frame of analysis to develop an ethnographic understanding of the data through close exploration of several sources of data, or using a single case study (Simons, 2009).

Ethnography of Social Transformations
In this study, the term ethnography is used as a method of research with the intent of providing a detailed, in-depth description of everyday life practices of people living and performing under a disempowering situation. Clifford Geertz (1973) calls such a detailed ethnographic interpretation of culture as a “thick description” in his writings about an interpretive theory of culture in the early 1970s. Thus, for the purpose of the present study, the aim of ethnography goes beyond a mere cultural interpretation and reporting events and details of experience and aims to explain how people’s life experiences represent what Geertz calls “webs of meaning” of the cultural construction in which humanity lives.  Culture reflects the economic, social and material conditions of a society and expresses “the way people suffer, jubilate, survive, and evolve” and as a form of resistance, culture can serve as a “weapon throughout history” or used for “social control” (Duncombe, 2002:9). The aim of cultural resistance as a historical element of cultural nationalism2 is “to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers” of humankind and perpetuate emancipation of mankind from any form of injustices (ibid.).

The notion of development as a move toward a predetermined goal in social transformation processes has been misused and the natives suffered displacements in the name of a “common good”. The growing human crisis and consequent disenchantments inflicted by global change and modernity and resistance against injustices have been expressed through various means of cultural expressions, media outlets and academic works. By using “social transformation” as an ‘interdisciplinary analytical framework,’ there has been a growing interest in social sciences to examine closely those regional, national and local impacts of global changes and transformations.

In this project, as already stated, a negativistic social transformation is analyzed by looking back at the dispossessory process of land and land-resources the Salale Oromo suffered under the Shawan Amhara rulers. In so doing, an attempt will be made also to reveal the ongoing land grab policies the Salale suffer. The negative social transformation markedly threatened their indigeneity, i.e. the shared identity constituted through shared social, cultural and economic practices.  Following displacement, the Salale moved and crossed social and spatial boundaries to other parts of Oromoland far-off (Arsi, Bale, Borana, Jimma), whereas, they did not migrate to other non-Oromo regions relatively closer.

In what follows, I describe life history technique as a method of analyzing Salale Oromo folksongs and contemporary narratives of negative social transformation, particularly displacement, as performed by Chukala Butta. The aim is also to bring the issue of accessing subjugated knowledge and the experience of those who are disenfranchised. To this aim, folksongs and narratives are of paramount importance to the articulation of marginalized voices. Narrative expression is expressive of conscious concerns about life events and also of unconscious cultural, societal and individual presuppositions and processes. Hence, life histories support research into the lived experience of individual and collectives and facilitate the understanding of both the inner and the outer worlds of historically-evolving persons in historically evolving situations (Bertaux and Thmpson, 1993:198ff). In so doing, life histories as a method give clues into the interactivity of inner and outer world dynamics and their result is determined by the effectiveness of the interview.

Chukala Butta’s life history excerpted and presented in this paper reflects the influence of a series of socio-political transformations and economic, cultural and historical events and states external to the individual. The narrative technique in life history is thus a research method for exploring data on understandings, opinions, and what people remember doing, attitudes and feelings that they have in common. Some qualitative interviews such as the present are used to gather descriptive data with structured or semi-structured interviews, whereas, other interviews are used to generate data by probing deeper into the life accounts of the individual. Apart from the methodological perspective, it would be difficult to classify this interview as life history, oral history, or narrative. The typology rather depends on the methodology and the analytical framework applied to this single data. That is, different interview style creates different data and different forms of knowledge requiring different kind of analysis and interpretation. And life history interview is no exception. As Chukala Butta’s life story recounts the past event and state of about 80 years, life history interview permits for the detailed study of complex relationships of experience across time and covers the life story right up until the present day.

Text Rendition, Transcription and Translation
In this study life-history interview was conducted to use personal narratives as firsthand accounts of the subject’s lived life experience. The data is crucial for the ethnographer who produces life-history out of multiple texts of personal stories. The interviews aimed at a defined set of issues the interviewee volunteered to discuss with my assistants issues deemed important to him, though questions were posed to him, which shaped smoothly the flow of conversation. I transcribed the interview data verbatim and translated with attempts made to maintain the themes of the research, which includes the disturbing images of displacement, lack of religious, linguistic and economic freedom, and other dehumanizing facets of internal colonialism rendered by the informant. The result is a set of systematically segmented meta-codes (larger life themes/events) of the glorious past, personal data, displacement, social transformations, and resistance and under each meta-code there is a lengthy list of sub/-texts. For example, the coded transcript that addresses the smaller code category of “troubled/unsettled life” falls under the meta-category of “social transformation,” a negativistic social change, whereas, “nostalgia” is the influence of “displacement,” the perturbed deep-seated sense of heimat, one’s “home,” homeland, and also “toponyms” (place names of temporary settlement) falls under “displacement”. Other sub-texts are implied and not specifically asked on the interview as this is most often the case with constructing “history from ‘below,’” or working on grassroots history as Erick Hobsbawm calls it “history of ordinary people” (Hobsbawm in Krantz 1988:204). Sub-texts are life-history data not-specifically asked by the interviewer(s) or not answered by the interviewee but inferred from the context of the free conversation in the interview useful for the intended goal.

Translation may be taken to be an easy task which requires not more than a reasonable knowledge of both languages in the process. However, translation in practice appears to be a much more demanding process in which a series of factors are involved. The difficulties may vary according to the competence and also the sort of text at hand. The problem of translation can be over-literariness, that is, too much emphasis on the literary merit of the source and over-translation, which is more focus on the target language. In the present study an attempt has been made to balance both and to maintain the content of the interview data. Chuqala Butta’s songs and narratives voice questions of nationalism vs. cosmopolitanism, of search for identity within the Orthodox-Christian dominated cultural assemblage, of frustration against continuing neo-Abyssinian influences. Through transcription and translation of the present texts, an attempt is made to theorize the quest for “pure” sources of inspiration for singularity and to discern the intrinsic seeds of Salale Oromo folk life troubled since the 19th century and struggled to develop a new “authentic” life style in their own ways possible ever since. By closely examining the interview data below one can not only outpace the present time but retrace the century long passed.  

‘Life History’ Themes (Events): Interview Sample Data

As in the excerpts of Interview Sample Data presented in this section the informant is expected and encouraged to outline critical events that may stand out in bold print in the story. That is, in the life history research, interviews are designed in such a way that they elicit key events, specific happenings, critical incidents, significant episode set in a particular time and place (Atkinson, 1998:6). The ethnographer makes it clear in the interview questions such an event constitutes a specific moment in life story which stands out for some reason. Those events set in a particular time and place are complete with particular characters, actions, thoughts and feelings as peak or nadir (low) life themes, very happy or very sad but important in some way. Those key events say something about whose ‘life’ story is about or who the subject is/was as a person and it makes the life history project more practical but demanding.

Peak Life Event
The events or states in life are of different nature. Some events could be a peak experience as in Chuqala Butta’s life during the last 92 year experience of displacement from the original Salale homeland to different places and finally to the present locale in Bokko, near Mojo, East Shawa. The peak experience of life events can be the time when the individual made it possible to go out for himself to represent his people to voice their grievance and to reclaim their land as a marked and legitimate calling in the life of the narrator and his people. To Chuqala Butta, the peak experience of his life event is the ‘present’:
B:…yaa ijoolle ‘gaa guyyaa taaggalaatan oolee…amma egaa dugduu na dhukkubee,
ka’eetan rafaa, taphadhaa egaa…
-oh, my kids! I have been toiling ups and downs the whole day. Now I am tired …my back is aching…let me go to be …you enjoy yourself…
-sii hin gamne ganaadha, yoom…kan dhugdu daadhii dhaa, maal dhadhabdeetoo…
Oh, no…you are strong…you drink mead…and…

B: abeet! abeet! abeet! maali barri alamiin…maali barri alamiin…yee ijoolle…amma kanumti bara kana keecha seennee…maaluma jenna amma duunu illee in gaabbinaa?
Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! [same as] What a wonderful world! What a wonderful world! Hey, boys! Do we complain should we die right now having seen this day to the present! 
 [text 1]
In the life of the narrator, this life history event is the moment that stands out in his memory as a wonderful scene that he describes at length for this represents his adulthood.  Life history event is where the ethnographer plays a key role to make sure that the subject addresses those salient features in the interview and also to make the conversations clear, especially impacts of the experiences. One would ask for extra details, if necessary, after the subject has finished initial description of the event, and not to interrupt the description of the event. 

Nadir Life Event
In the life history the subject also includes the nadir experience in life events, which is the low point in the life history. Thinking back over the past, the subject tries to remember a specific experience in which one felt extremely negative emotions (disillusionment, terror, guilt, disconnectedness, dishonor). Such a falling lived experience can be, for instance, the moments of abject poverty Chuqala recounts in his life toward the end of the interview describing the time when he carried hides and skins on his head during displacement:
B: maal ijoolle barri alamiin barri akkanaa…maal utuu kuni jiraatee…maan olii-gadi kaachaa baha.., erbee baadhee mataatti…harree hin qabuu, waa tokko hin qabu, ijoollee,
Oh, boys! [same as] ‘What a wonderful world’! if this [my emphasis] life could have ever happened in my life those days, I shouldn’t have carried hides and skins and sweat ups and downs. I never had a donkey, I had nothing …oh boys!

(Interviewer). -balaa abbaa lafaati ka gooftaa kiyya…
It was the cost of oppression, my dear sir…

B: erbee mataatti baadheetan, daa’ima gatiittii tokkotti baadhee, olii-gadi deemaa ture…
I carried hides and skins on my head. I carried my kids on my shoulder, and toiled down and out! 
[text 2]
Such an event in his life is recalled with resentment, humiliation and dismaying emotions of disenchantment. The events mark turning points in his life history, that is, as nadir episodes they represent a substantial moment that happened in Chuqala’s life history as a result of displacement.

The experience and attitudes of an individual we analyze in doing life histories could be a rich data or elementary facts, but instances of other general facts or classes of data. In that case, the data can be used for the determination of defining features of other facts and for analyzing detailed life records of the subject and the observation of mass phenomena. However, to cover the totality of the social problem, it is practically difficult to obtain such concrete data through life history interview across enormous amount of social group based on personal materials necessary to characterize the life history of social/cultural group.

Analysis of the Interview Data
The Salale are the Tulama branch of the Cushitic Oromo in Ethiopia inhabiting northwest of Finfinne (also called Addis Ababa), the capital and also the political seat of African Union. Because of their geographical proximity to the Shawan Amhara Christians to the north the Salale live(d) under an unequal historical relationship and suffered economic exploitation, especially land appropriation,  displacement, and political subjugation before any other Oromo branches to the south (Tsegaye 2003; Ege, 1996; Bairu 1986). Situated in this context, in analyzing Chuqala Butta’s folk songs and narratives of displacement, I engage in the call to emotions and sentiments as validity checkpoint or source to consider authenticity/traditionality. I identify the privileging of content analysis as a point of convergence between the project of life-history research and adaptation of folklore—as creative/emancipatory resistance—to ethnography of resistance poetics. 

In what follows an attempt is made to explore how the folksongs of displacement and narratives performed by Chuqala Butta promote issues of social justice, emancipatory resistance, and understanding across difference. Whether the songs and narratives of displacement call forth something from our experience or help shed light on an experience that is unfamiliar and remote in time will be closely examined next.

Displacement, Toponyms, Disenchantment

Menelik incorporated the Oromo in 1880s until 1900 and the Salale Oromo suffered displacement and forcedly enlisted in the peasant militia against other Oromo military service against and doing life histories using interview technique is employing a realist epistemological perspective in qualitative research and/or applying realist ontology to a number of important theoretical and methodological issues.

-mikinaata maaliin biyyaa bahuu dandeechan?
Why you left your home(land)?

B: Egaa warri durii, horii eeguu malee…egaa, ka’aa egaa, jenaan, ka’an
Well, our ancestors were mainly herders…and, when they were evicted, then they left their homeland

-gizee sanii…oggaa sanii mangitiin keechan kan isin bulchu eenyu?
Who reigned by the time, who was the ruler?

B: Axee Menelik jedhan
    His name was Emperor Menelik.

Achii ariinaan, eecha qubate hundee keechan kunimmoo ammas?
Where did you settle immediately after you left your place of birth, Salale?

B: Addis’aabaa….naannoo Gullalle… Biyyoo Baala-Woldii…. Dhimbiibii… Siibaa…
Addis Ababa…Gullalle…
Biyyoo Baala-Woldii…. Dhimbiibii… Siibaa…
 [text 3]
After they were forced to leave their homeland, Salale, Chuqala Butta’s lineage settled among the Gullalle Oromo near Finfinne (later re-named Addis Ababa), then Biyyo, Dhimbiibii, Siibaa…before they came to the present site, Bokko Shanan. Thus, life hi(story) serves as a “means of documenting a person’s lived experience in case study research” (Simons, 2009:77). The stories told by the individual are about aspects of their lives relevant to the research topic, such as in the issue of displacement as negative social transformation. Doing life histories is to apply a critical realist ideas and approaches to the design and methods of qualitative research and present the local perspective of history and politics from “below”. ‘Life history’ is constructed using interview and documentary data and the move from ‘life story’ to ‘life history’ requires interpretation of the difference. The difference between “life story” related by the individual and “life history” as constructed by the researcher (Simons, ibid) is one of methodological details and also theoretical overtones. That is, the project conducted using interview(s), for example, based on ‘life histories’ research describes how realist the perspectives are to inform the research, the methods, and the conclusions. The ‘life stories’ are, it is argued, “already removed from life experiences,” and “‘they represent a partial, selective commentary on lived experience’” (Simon, ibid, citing Goodson and Sikes, 2001:16). The researcher takes the ‘life story’ from the narrator and gives it more power by relocating it in context and interpreting in relation to the social conditions as contextual commentary on issues of time and place. 

If the informant is accurate about his age (92), Chuqala was born in 1921 when Zewditu, Menelik’s daughter, had been already officially announced in 1916 as the Queen of Kings, a modification of the traditional Abyssinian King of Kings, and Teferi Mekonen, later Haile Selassie, was appointed her heir apparent. When Menelik died in 1913,  Lij Iyasu (r193-1916), a Wallo Oromo and the son of Zewditu’s sister, Shewrega, succeeded Menelik only to be removed from power in 1916 and be replaced by Zewditu and Teferi Mekonen, later Haile Selassie. The Tulama Oromo in general and the Salale in particular suffered massive economic exploitation and political deprivation under successive Shawan brutal rulers which continued under Haile Selassie until the Italian occupation in 1936 and later (Holokomb and Ibssa, 1990). It was these dehumanization and negative social transformations that the present informant, Chuqala Butta, recounts as he and his people suffered under the Shawan rulers. 

The event in the following song affected the trajectory of Chuqala’s life history and most of the Salale descents from a story of abundance, self-fulfillment, autonomy, and progress to a story of degeneration, resentment, nostalgia of the glorious past, and fear, “fear of the unknown,” i.e., disenchantment with the present and lack of confidence in the future. Thus, such an event is a negativistic change in an individual, family, or community’s life at some point in time. An event, as a transition between states, is a change that places an individual in a new state different from the previous state that the individual, family or community was in. In Chuqala’s story, there are characters, high points, low points, good times and bad times, heroes and villains. This part of the story is the main chapters of his life history and his family about the cultural conflict between the two religions, namely, the traditional and the Orthodox Christianity. The whole story, as one incident in his lifetime (of 92 years) may expand to cover the detailed accounts of social, economic, spiritual and political consequences. Like events, states are recurrent or non-recurrent (Rajulton, 2001). Such a state as religious transition maneuvered by political and social orchestration of power monopoly is less recurrent to exit and to “return to the source”.

The informant did not promise much, nor did he feel compelled to provide lots of details in the interview in which the interviewer(s) triggered the general, direct questions. Chuqala gave a fraction of life events set between states, a sense of the story’s outline followed by more clarifications and elaborations in the interview session. 

-…Hoo Abbaan Lafaa qe’eerraa ka’aa isiniin jedhu sanii…wanni aartanii ykn dhiichissan aartannii wanni dubbatan jiraa…?
When you were forced to leave your home (and your land), were there songs of resentment you sang?

B:  sii bahe
     yaa abbaa lafaa,
     biyyaa sii bahe
     eega jaldeechi ollaa sii tahee
     eega quraan jigii sii bahee
     sii bahe
     yaa abbaa lafaa,
     biyyaa sii bahe

…jechaa deeman kaa…karaa   deeman…horii oofan

                         I left my home….
abandoned my home
‘cause of you
oh, landlord
and forced to flee my home
now monkeys are your neighbors
crows are your tenants
I left my home and my land
‘cause of you, oh landlord
…expressing through songs their unfathomable grief and migrating with their cattle.
[text 4]
Chuqala’s life history indicates that he and his family—and the community in his neighborhood—were put in an absorbing state out of which it was difficult for him to exit and rejuvenate identity once again as a Salale Oromo to return to the basics. By combining several other transient (recurrent) and absorbing (non-recurrent) states, one can closely investigate into the details of life history full sequence of events and states.

As timing is important in life history studies, Chuqala Butta’s narrative is set in Menelik’s and Haile Selassie’s regimes, nearly 80 years back, and recounted as a point of departure for the transition from one social role to another, it is also marked by social time, that is, it combines aspects of age and duration. As he is 92, Chukala Butta outlived a number of physical and psychological factors and survived to give his testimonies today. By forced conversion, he hinted to my assistants during the interview, some of his clan including himself became Orthodox Christians. This pattern of inter-generational crosscurrents and generation gaps follow the historical time line disrupting the hitherto normal flow of the transition of social role from father to son (e.g. , in Gada) and mother to daughter (as in the Ulfaa rituals and Atete). 

Of Power and Powerlessness
Available oral data and the social history of power recorded since the 19th century (Krapf and Isenberg 1843; Harris 1844; Beke 1844) show the continuous resistance of the Salale against Shawan domination, which the Ethiopian and Ethiopianist scholars and chroniclers recorded merely the history of political rulers and their coercive measures  to guarantee peaceful coexistence and collaboration. As to be further explored in this study, the “grassroots history” of the people shows that the “traditional nationalism” took varied forms of cultural resistance including social banditry and full-scale battles (Tsegaye 2003; Abbink 2003; Ege 1996; Crummey, 1986).

The resistive, transcendent and transformational possibilities through symbolic performance presented below make evident the unequal power relationship of the Salale with the Abyssinian rulers and the social and economic inequalities (unequal development) they suffered. The interviewer posed a question to Chuqala if the Salale could defend themselves against the “internal colonialism” and aggression:

-sila humna hin qabneefiti?
‘Cause of lack of power, right (that you lost your land)?

B: humna hin qabu, maal tu jira…
What power, no, no power at all.
[text 5]
Even though there was firm social and economic control on the subordinates, in the history of the Abyssinian rulers, internal power struggle, problems of power transfer and other factors made it difficult for the central government to control tributary local states and enforce laws and tax collection (Tsegaye, 2003; Ege, 1996). When the central state could not enforce law and order, the local tributaries apparently exercised a type of sovereignty. Whereas, when power is consolidated at the center, it crashes the tributary states and weakens them, however, resistance and compliance was inevitable.  In the lines below, migration was a passive means of survival when oppression was intense. Thus, as Chuqala’s performance show next, songs can be judged based on their ability to evoke emotions. Through creating intense emotions, folksongs produce connections and a scene that feels truthful, and, in doing so, songs inspire political or socially conscious action:

     B: yaa tahuu
     yaa tahu yaa tahuu
     an nan deemaa
     an nan deemaa
     yaa abbaa lafaa
     waan sii hedu Rabbitu beekaa
     waan naa hedu Rabbitu beekaa
     nagaatti yaa biyya too nagaatti

B: I abandon my home
I leave my home
‘cause of you, oh, landlord 
God will judge you
for what you did to me
oh, landlord
adios my home
ah me, to live down and out

                        …jechaa deeman
[text 6]

Under such unequal power relationships, laws were imposed to be violated, orders were forced to be disrupted, and, consequently, humanity was dislocated, life was disintegrated. For where there was no justice no wrong life could be lived rightly! Thus, the Salale were dispersed or internally migrated. Those who remained back home, some rebelled and some lived as tenants under servitude from Ras Darge to his great-grandchildren, Amdie and others. During the social banditry and rebellion, the heretics’ abodes became the heroes’ sanctuaries. When the Shawan Amhara rulers appropriated their land, the Salale sang (interview, Sime, 2010),

ati yaa Amdee Abarraa
maaf qotte maasaa lagarraa
silaa hiyyeessa fixxee lafarraa?
si haa gaafatu ayyaanni warraa!

oh, Amdee Abarra
why you plowed the farm on the banks
and displaced the poor?may their ancestral spirit judge you, punish you!

 [text 7]
According to Chuqala Butta, and from my own experience, the Salale Oromo used narratives and folksongs as cultural resistance against domination, and in so doing, to commemorate Salale heroes and constitute their identity and ‘history’ from “below”. I argue that a constructivist strategy must be employed to consider the role of cultural nationalism in general and folk songs and narrative accounts in particular in studying current Oromo cultural resistance. By internal colonialism stance, social inequalities and “uneven development” of regions in Ethiopia fumed the glaring fire of nationalism supported by cultural resistance from “below”. And the Salale are no exceptions.

Of the Glorious Past
In those folksongs and narratives are snapshots of time is the essence, the glorious past time of Oromo heroes and successful farming. The nostalgic utterance of ruminations and recollections of the good old days refer to the time when the Oromo were autonomous and life was fulfilling. They had herds of cattle grazing free in the open filed, barns full of grains were kept in line out in the yard and everyone fed his children from harvest to harvest from the bounty that came from ox-driven plough. The informant assumes the later period as one of interruption and stagnation when the hero and farmer failed the great expectations of the people. The utterances are of immediate experience of the narrator and represent the moment of resonance, of remembrance, anonymous compulsion to transmission of heroism, abundance and autonomy, yet the song voicing pure desire, naïve and profound individual experience detached in time and space and the nostalgic passion of heimat (one’s home/-land) is only embodied in collective (sub)consciousness:

B: qotaa qotaan, gootaraa daraaddaree
……………gootaraa daraaddaree
lolaa lolaan, goofaree abaxxaree
qotimee yaa ijoollishee …jenna aabboo

(A1/A2 responds as Buttaa calls and sings the refrain…)
goofaree abaxxaree, goofaree abaxaree…
in lolta moo, in qotta yaa ijoollishee jenna…
Hayyoon guutee, Hayyoon guute guutee

B: oh, what a diligent farmer, what a diligent farmer
 with mounds of grain, heaps of bundles, and grain banks
     oh, what a hero, what a hero
     flamboyant with a superbly combed hair

so, you till the ground or you sill the hair?!
    oh, Hayyoo, Hayyoo is overflowing
    and the hero is fierce, he tends to swim upstream
[text 8]

In this song at the threshold of the departure of the hero for war, he enunciates rhymes full of emotions, recounts his own heroic deeds and that of his kin and then he leaves. Similarly, when evicted from their home, the Salale performed rituals, uttered curses to attack those who drove them away from their land and blessings and prayers to stay firm in the face of disempowerment and then took stock of their belongings including farm tools, animals, family, and ritual objects thought to be a guardian caretaker wherever they settled among but among their own people, the Oromo. The tools and ritual objects are believed to manifest themselves on their own and carried to the new places they settled not of desire but duty. The animals also signify the Salale connection to their homeland between the two river basins (Mogor on the west and Jamma on the east) and solidarity with other Oromo clan…

The song lines,

Hayyoon guutee, Hayyoon guute guutee
guute garaan in bibilliqee

oh, Hayyoo, Hayyoo is overflowing
and the hero is fierce, he tends to swim upstream
 [text 9]
The song invokes some time-space bounded erratic travel of the old man and the depersonalization. That is, instead of the first-person “I”, “He/It,” represented by “Hero/Hayyoo” is indicative of the baren inactive moment, indolence, and oblivion rendered by age and domination but “Hayyoo,” a river-overflow symbolically recaps the heroic fervor of old times now recessed. The song-cycle closes in a state of reactive disorientation of the performer lost in the lack of perception (or in spite of it) of the familiar object (Hayyo River) as a symbolic representation of intense realization of abandonment imposed by age and subjectivity.

In this study I made a modest attempt to discuss life history as a narrative technique to interpret songs of displacement and contemporary narratives as performed by Chukala Butta of Salale, Ethiopia. We have seen that life history evolves out of a story a person chooses to tell about one’s life lived and told as completely and honestly as possible. It depends on the memory of the person and on the free will to tell what the person wants others to know usually guided with interview and also in a free conversation. Life history as a research technique permits the detailed study of complex relationships of events and experiences about them across time. A consistent, reliable and coherent data through life history is a result of clear and less intricate questions serving as a life story technique to elicit personal narratives. That is, the greater emphasis being to elicit personal narratives, the purpose of the interviewing is to ask the interviewee(s) to tell their life stories in their own words and recount life events (themes) in any order that pleases them. As we have seen in this paper, to ask too many predetermined direct questions may deter the normal flow of the narrative and alters the focus of attention.  

 We have seen that traditional stories serve by bringing into accord humankind with oneself, with others, with the mystery of life, so stories of lived experience (life histories) carry timeless themes and motifs of life and guide us with their deeply human elements.  In the present paper, an attempt has been made primarily to explore how life history fits into a larger research project; how, as a method, life history affects other methodological tools such as interviews and choosing interviewees, and how external materials (e.g. archives) are used to strengthen and further enrich life histories while considering ethical issues in relation to life histories and other kinds of information. For the scope of the present study, however, I limited myself to the data provided by Chukala Butta to my research assistants at his home near Mojo, Ethiopia, in December 2012. In the case of Chukala Butta, he narrated and performed songs of displacement that represent the past experience of negative social transformation which harshly affected the life of most of the Salale Oromo since the second half of the 19th century and the meaning of social changes in contemporary narratives in Ethiopian context. The life history narrative is rooted within the existing tradition where the subjects tie their moral fiber or tow their spiritual water to speak their mind. To plan for interview and elicit the narratives is not a direct path to success. There are factors that determine its flow, one being, as already said, the tradition, and another, the living and working condition of the subject(s)and the ethnographer’s own commitment to the project. 

We have also identified two tracks of storyline used in life-history as a narrative technique: one of “life story,” which is, the ‘lived life’ experience as told by the narrator, and the other, “life history” as constructed by the researcher using the “life story” data (Simons, 2009). Both threads of stories, as indicated are influenced by positionality, existing narrative tradition, real life situation of the subject(s), and the irresistible temporal and spatial distance between the fieldwork and the writing up of the life story brought to the academic context. There can be also discrepancies between the “lived life,” the “told story” and the “constructed life history” as there is between the “filed-work” and the “writing up” of the life history in the academic context. Whether the ethnographer focuses more on the story-text than the person behind the story (subjectivity in historical situation), in theory, can also make a difference. Finally (?), in using life history as a method, those inescapable conundrums seduce the unwary ethnographer easily into acquiescence of the hasty generalization of the present and uncritical approval of the past.

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APPENDIX A: Chuqala Butta (92) (Image Invisible)

1. The Fly-whisk (Ciraa):
The Fly-whisk in his is used to swat flies. It is part of a regalia, in Oromo culture, with elderly people, usually men. Fly-whisk is made of horse tails or cows tail and carefully decorated with beads or leather also used as part of some ritual paraphernalia.

2. Light Cotton Toga (Kutaa)
A cotton toga adult costume is a typical Oromo traditional costume. It varies from very thick, like a blanket, casually used, to light cloth as here Cuqqaalaa wears. This is often used on some public or ritual occasions. The Oromo are known for their neatly woven cotton toga costumes in East Africa (citation needed)

3. In doing a photolog for its ethnographic significance, at least two issues are worth discussing: one is the subject the photographs are dependent on, and the other is the photographer who influences the nature of the content. The content of the photographs are determined by the interactions of the two. To interpret contents of the photographs for some ethnographic value, understanding the subject-photographer interaction is important. 

The specimens in my Salale Photolog are typical examples of natives’ goods people make and use to cater for their daily needs. The ethnographic artifacts and the sense of place are carefully indexed and described to reconstruct the original context. Other information relevant to the material photographed like the cotton toga costume, fly-whisk, spear, saddle, and other objects and the identity of the maker, the reason for making it, significance of the piece and its age and place and time of manufacture require a separate study focusing on Oromo material culture in general and the Salale in particular to understand the people’s way of life. 

The circular Oromo traditional house in C. Butta’s picture surrounded by ground stone fences has historical significance as it represents customary Oromo architecture. The Salale in their traditional homeland live in clusters of stone-fenced houses which make lineages subdivided into sub-lineages of people who trace their pedigree to houses or warra, i.e, descents of Butta Sambato. 

Interview Data

-Int.(A): Ammatti amata meeqa taatan
-Butta (B): Ammattii? 92
-A1: Dhaloonni keechan biyyami? Zariin keechan biyyamitti dalattaniiti…as gahuu dandeechan?’
-B: Egaa warri keenya Mogoritti dhalate
-A1: Salale jechuudha Mogor?
-B: Salale
-A1: Eshi. Akkabaabiin maal jedhama. Salale tahee akkabaabiin sun maal jedhama?
-B: Mogor jedhama Salale keechatti
-A2: Naannoon sun Giraar Jaarsoo moo, maqaan isaa layya’amee kan itti beekamu
-B: Jamma jedhama
A1: Jamma jedhama
B: Jamma jedhama
A: Jamma irraa kaatanii ammoo zarii keechan kuni, biyyam dhufuu danda’an ammoo achirraa ka’anii?
B: Addis’aabaa, Finfinne
A1: Mikinaata maaliitiin biyyaa bahuu dandeechan?
B: Egaa warri durii, horii eeguu malee…egaa, ka’aa egaa, jenaan, ka’an
A1: Warri abbaa lafaa ykn immoo baalabbaanni
B: Warri abbaa lafaa
A1: gizee sanii…oggaa sanii mangitiin keechan kan isin bulchu eenyu?
B: Axee Menelik jedhan
A1. Axee Menelik kanatummoo isin ari’e, Oromoo kana hundee isaarraa ariyuu danda’e jechuu dha.
B: Achii ari’e
A1: Achii ariinaan, eecha qubate hundee keechan kunimmoo ammas?
B: Addis’aabaa
A2: Naannoo…Naannoo Finfinnee ykn immoo akkasumatti naa ibsitan…Gullallee ‘ettaniitii? Naannoo Gullaallee naan jettan..
B: Naannoo Gullallee
A2. Eeyyee…ka…hoo achii biyyaa Salale irraa kaatanii Gullallee qubattan kanaa…
B: Kanaa…
A2: …Hoo Abbaan Lafaa qe’eerraa ka’aa isiniin jedhu sanii…wanni aartanii ykn dhiichissan aartannii wanni dubbatan jiraa…?
B:  sii bahe
     yaa abbaa lafaa,
     biyyaa sii bahe
     eega jaldeechi ollaa sii tahee
     eega quraan jigii sii bahee
     sii bahe
     yaa abbaa lafaa,
     biyyaa sii bahe
…jechaa deeman kaa…karaa deeman…horii oofan
B: ugguma deemanuu…Finfinneetti dhufan kaa amma
A1: aa…Finfinnee, ykn Shaggar, Gullallee qubattan jechuudha
B: Gullallee qubanne
A1: uummanni naannoo san jiru, oggaa qubattan, akkamiin isin simatan?
B: egaa oggaa sanii, namni baayyeen hin jiru…nusii bakkuma inni taa’e san, achuma waluma cinaa teenyee, amma, Finfinnee kana, jabbilee obaafanna, jabbilee obaafanna (A1, toole), loonimmoo, Aqaaqii dhugan..Aqaaqii dhuganiiti, galgala, galan. Galgala yoo galanii, utuu akkumatti noorruu, gaafa kaanimmoo, godaannaa kaane kaa…margisi oggaa dhume, akka horiin xaqqamamu barbaanne,
A1: me asumarratti, xinnoo duubatti isin deebisuun barbaadee…
B: ihh
A1: isinii, yeroosan oggaa Salale  kaatan sanii, hammam taatanii kaatan…baayinaan?
B: Baayyinaan…
A1/2: hammam taatan, nama meeqa taatan, Abbaafi Haadha moo…nama meeqa taatan?
B: nama meeqaa?
A2: …eh..taatan jedhama mee?
B: amma egaa, abbaa, akkaakayyuu,
A1: eenyu akaakayyuun keechan?
B: Sambato
A1: Sambato kan eenyuti?
B: Sambato kan Odaa ti
A2: Gimmitiitti nama meeqa in taatan jedhan, gimmitiitti oggaa dhageechan…nama meeqa in taatu…
B: Gullalle kan jeyamau, akkuma jiruun buqqa’ee achi taa’e…Gullalleen, gosti Gullallee..
A1: achi keechatti, zariin keechan nama meeqa in taatu?
B: amma nama kudhanii in taana
A1/2: isa barbaanne…galatoomaa
A1: akka duratti jettanittii…gosti keechan akka naannoo Giraar Jaarsoo akka kaatanisii in himama…achii kaatanii akka as qubattanis in himama…naannoo Girar Jaarsoo sanii irraa kaatanii kaa Gullallee qubattani mitii..? naannoo Giraar Jaarsoo san oggaa qubattan sanii, akkami, qotiisaan bultan moo, akkamitti bultan? Akkamiin…
B: horuma eegna (2x)
A2: qotiisi hin jiruu ogaa sanitti
B: hojiin hinjiru
A2: hin beettan qotiisa
B: hin jiru
A1: horii bichaa horsiifattanii jiraattan
B: horiima horsiifanna (2x)
A1: Addis’aaba keecha gimmitiitti hammam teechan jedhani…bakka Addis’aabaa, Finfinnee jedhamu kana, hammam teechan…amata meeqa teechan jedhama…
B: Addis’aabaa hanga waggaa 40 taauu hin oolan …
A2: gara waggaa 40 Finfinnee ykn naanooo Gullallee jiraattan jechuu dha…
B: eeyee ..eeyyee..
A2: naannoo Gullaallee sanimmoo oggaaa jiraattan sanii …yeroo sanii bulchiinsi biyyaa eenyu jedhama ture…mootummaan Itoophiyaa bulchu jechuu dha …kan biyya bulchu eenyu jedhama?
B: Axeee Menelik jedhan
A1: galatoomaa kaa…akka duratti naa ibsitanitti, haati keechan immoo Disoo Dilboo tuirte
B: Disoo Dilbooti
A1: akkam Disoo Dilboo…eenyu deeche dura..
B: dura?
A1: eeyyee
B: Jimaa Buttaa kan jeyan
A1: angafa keessan jechuu dha…A2: angafaa inni
B: angafa keenya
A1: inni angafa haa tahu malee, ijoollee meeqa deeche jaartiin tun?...haati keechan tun?
B: 12
A1: inni nama 12f angafa jechuudha
B: angafa
A1: ammoo Finfinnee dhaa kaatanii, eecha qubattan?
B: ammas egaa Finfinne irraa yoo kaanu kanaa, …ka’aa jedhan kaa amma…
A2: maaliif ka’aa jedhan…maal godhan bakka sanii…
B: laftii…keenyaa, bakka sanii ka’aa jedhan…Aaxee Menelik keecha egaa amma…ka’aa jennaan kaa…silaa name deemu bootaa hin dhabu mitiiree? Kaanee Biyyoo Baala-Woldii kan jedhamu qubanne…
A1: Biyyoo Baala-Woldii kana hammam teechan ammo?
B: Biyyoo Baala-Waldii kana …haga teenye (2x)…haga waggaa 80 in taha…
A1: zariin keechan kun kan taa’e..
B: zarriin keenya kan taa’e
A1: ammasimmoo maaliif achii ka’uu dandeechan …maal taatanii kaatan jedhan…
B: ammas kaa immoo…ka’aa jedhan…abbaan lafaa…
A1: silaa Oromoon bakka hundaa hin taa’uu…in ariyan ammoo
B: akkas, eeyee…
A1: achii Biyyoo dhaa ariyamtaniimmoo zariin keechan kun bakka kam qubate jedhu?
B: bakkasii ka’eeti immoo Dhimbiibii kan jeyan…Dhimbiibii kan jeyan qubannee…
A1: Dhimbiibii jechuun Waradaa kam keecha immoo?
B: Adaamaa
A1. naannoo Adaamaa,
B: naannoo Adamaa, Bokko, Dhimbiibii kan jeyan qubanne
A1: Dhimbiibii irraa kaataniimmoo naannnoo kam qubattan
B: Dhimbiibii sanirraa, amma ka’aa jennaan immoo kaanee, biyya Siibaa kan jedhanitti galle
A1. biyya Siibaa…waradaa kam keecha inni?
B: inni egaa immoo, waradaa Booraa ti,
A1: waradaa Booraa, Alam Tenaa, waradaa Booraa ..eshi…achiimmoo…akkamitti as gahuu dnadeechan ree…hammam turtan achitti?
B: achi amata shanii…sanyii tokkoo nyaadhee achii, Dargii keecha
A2: mee, baaka amma haassoftan sanattan waa isinii deebisaa…amma Salale irraa kaatanii, Finfinee ykn Shagaritti galtan, Shagar irraa immoo kaatani, naannoo Biyyoo tti galtan..Biyyoo irraa kaatan immoo naannoo Booraatitti…
B: eeyee..
A1. Baruma baraan kaa…bakkee tokkoo bakkee tokkotti dabraa tirtan…
B: dabraa turre…
A2: gisee san Oromooni…ka mufatee…aaree ka daggala seene jiraa? Warra kanaan loluufi, ykn immoo…eeee…abbaa lafaa kanaan mormuufi…name Oromooni…(A1/2) lola kaasee…jiraa?
B: otoo lola kaasee, maa Mogorii ka’a…deemi jedhan deemuu malee?
A1: namni lole jiraa?
B: hin jiru
A1: sila humna hin qabneefiti?
B: humna hin qabu, maal tu jira…
A1: mammaaksi wayii jiraa, yeroo kana…(A2) wanni mufattanii dubbattan…ykn immoo mufaatuu sanilleen waa tokko tokkoon…walitti haasa’uun, kunoo maal jedhan …akka walaloon…
B: yaa tahuu
     yaa tahu yaa tahuu
     an nan deemaa
     an nan deemaa
     yaa abbaa lafaa
     waan sii hedu Rabbitu beekaa
     waan naa hedu Rabbitu beekaa
     nagaatti yaa biyya too
     nagaatti yaa biyya too
jechaa deeman…
A1: boo’aat’ deeman oggaa kana…
B: boo’aat’ deeman…
A1: mufannaa godhateetoo
B: eeyee, boo’aa deema, maal godharee…harka waaqatti ol qaba, lafatti qaba,
A2: anillee karaa abbaa kiyaatin dhagahee, xiqqoo akkuma yaadattaniifini…sii bahe, sii bahe …jedha Oromoon oggaa aaru…eega hantuunni olla sii tahee …jedha
B: sii bahe biyyaa bahe
     yaa abbaa lafaa
     biyyaa bahee
     biyyaa sii bahee
     eega jaldeechi olla sii tahee
     eega quraan jigii si bahee
     sii bahe, biyyaa sii bahe
     yaa abbaa lafaa
     …eega hadaan dallaa sii tahee
…kan jedhu kaa…akkanatti deeddisaa deema

A2: tole kaa..Biyyoo irraa kaatanii …naannoo Adaamaa qubatan mitii?
(A3): (in Amharic: Menalbat geerarsa kaallee…macarrashaa lay ayshalem?)…(A2): kana hundaa egaa ammaa…Shagar irraa yeroo kaatanii, ykn immoo naannoo Gullallee irraa kaatanii, namni Gullalleetti hafe jiraa? Namni yaadattan jiraa?
B: eechatti kan hafe?
A1/A2: Addis’aabaatti kan hafe…naannoo Finfinneetitti…zariin keechan…
B:  era ma’aatii dha!…abaluu abaluu hin qabu…ma’aatiidha…oggaa san anis ‘gaa…xinnoo ijoollummaan qabaa…abbaa kiyyatu na fidee…ma’aatiitu hafe…Gullallee kan jedhamu in njira bootaan…
A2: eyyeee…(A1): wal beekuu dadeechuu…jara keechan sana waliin xinnoo xinnoo wal beekuu dandeechanii
B: zarii wal qorannu malee…akkanaan namni ta’eedhaan wal hin beeku
A1: wal hin beeku…beekuu hin dandeenyu…
B: eeyee…amma immoo…Xaafo kan Eekkaa ti
A1. Laga Xaafo jechaa keessan…
B: silaa keenya FInfinnee…Eekkaan ammas …qirincaafonni as jiran…qirincaafiin achitti hafan…
A1: Kuni amma Oromoo tu Gullallee fi Eekkaa taheetii?
B: Gullallee fi Eekkaa tahe…
A1: Wal gamaa gamana jiraattan…Eekkaa, Gullaallee jedhama…
B: eeyee..
A1: Hunduu garuu achii ka’eetuma…Addis’aabaa taateetuma name addaan bittinnaa’e…name achii ka’eetuma
B: bittinnaa’e baqqaa..
A1: balaa dhiibbaa abbaa lafaatiin
B: eeyee…ennaa…amma kaa…Biyyoo yoo teenye, ganda Bunee Korjoo jedhama…baalabbaata ajajan..baalabbaati haa dhufu jedhanii…in dhaqee…Qooqaa, kombolee Jaarraa kan jedhan, …dhaqanii…isaan achumatti hafanii…eecha dhqan jarri maal galuu didan..jennaan, “eechaa galanii, madabii irratti ijaarratanii…eechaa galan isaanii…kana dhageenyee…akka wagaa tokkoo oggaa gahani…algaan ragga’ee…isaanirratti madabii ijaarratanii…kana dhageenye malee, algaa jeyan…kan name du’ee gubbaa rafu hin agarre yeroo san…algaan awaala saanirraan mana keechatti madabii irratti ijaaratan…
A1: akka Oromoodhaa hin dubbanneef mitii waanni kun…
B: akkasi…
A1. jara san fixan jechuudha
B: jara san fixan jechuu dha…achumaan isin bulchuutti gadi jedhan jechuudha …nu bulchuutti gad jeyanii…achumaan egaa, Aaxeenis in du’ee…achumaan ammoo Haila Sellasetti dabarre kaa…
A2: asumarratti dubbii tokkotti isin deebisuuf, jarri kun Aaxee Menelik…ee…enyu jedhan jarri isaan waaman sunii…eenyu ‘ettan jarri isaan…Bunee eenyuu ‘ettan
B: Bunee Korjoo, Kmbolee Jaarraa ti
A2: …Kombolee Jaarraa…jarri kun yeroosan kaa waamaman… yeroo isaan waamamanii deeman kunii…bakkee isaan waamamanii deeman sunii, bakki sun maal…naannoo kami?
B: Addis’aabaa…
A2: Finfinnumatti waaman jechuu dha
B: Finfinnetti waaman
A2: waame Axee Menelik jechuu dha…
B: eeyee…
A2. naa gale… achumaan mataa-mataa dhahan jechuudha…akka isaan waa hin dubbanne, Oromoof…(A1) akka hin dubbanne…(A2) akka hin dubbanne…toole…achirraa ‘gaa, jarri kun achumaan hafanii, san booda nami Oromoodhaa dubbatu hin jiruu,
B: Ababdan! hin argamu…waan feete illee goodhi…masiraa-beetii dhaqnu, ba’isaa nuun jedha malee, waan tokkollee hin jiru…

                ati duunaan yaa Abbaa Machaal
                ati duunaan yaa Abbaa Machaal
                yaa haftee koo
                Shawaan lafa qotuu dide
                tamowaaggata malee
                ‘ba’isaa’ nuun jedha daanyaan
                yoo qanii kadhatani
                kan Sagalee dhaa as dhalate sunuu
hin baasuu yoo kakaktanii
..jedhaniiti akkanatti dhiichisani…
A1: bisootii
B: bisootii
A2: rakkoo garaa jiru
B: rakkoo garaa jiru
A2: san booda immoo naannoo Mojootti galtan mitiiree?
B: naannoo Mojootti galle…
A2: maal jedhama naannoon sun?
B: Arriffata
A2: Arriffta hammam jiraattan?
B: baayyee  teenye
A1: Arriffata..keessatti maal jedhama, qofaatti akkabaabiin isaa?
B: Arriffata Rigaa
A1: baayyee jiraattan achi
B: baayyee noorre achi
A1: eenyu kan ture achi macarrashaa irratti
B: egaanii, kan turee…Jimaa Buttaa…achi taa’eeti…gizuma “Adigootaa” keecha (2x)…akka…waan inni tahe mooji..fakkeenyaa..anigaa asan jiraa..waan inni tahe moojii…achii, kadireen fuudhee…Nazirititti, mana hidhaa galchee…lafa egaa Dargiin kenneef, naxaatti…
A1/A2: kenneef
B: kan kenneef…irraa gatanii, mana hunda gubanii, an asan jira ammallee…warra isa gube hin beekuu…baqqaa…kanumti lafa qabu, Jimaa Buttaa jedhamu kun, lafa dhabee, gara safaraatti galee…safaraatti xiqqishuu tokko qaba, bootaadhaa, manaan…guddaayiin keenya akka kana…guddaayiin mana keenyaa…
A1: Arriffataa, eechatti ka’uu danda’an isaan…Jimaa Buttaa kun, Arriffataa kaanaan immoo eessatti qubate amm?
B: Arriffataa kaanaani, ammas Arriffataa, bowwaa gubbaa
A1: isa dhumaa eechatti kan arrafani…
B: kan du’uu danda’an…Basaqatti
A1: eenyutu xooree, eenytu fudhate?
B: soorecha...Jimaa
A1: ilma isaati kaa…
B: ilma isaati…haati Soorechaatillee, Abbaan Soorechaatillee…achitti du’aniiti, Taabota isaanii, an maqaa hin beekuu, achitti awwaalaman
A1: Bookkoo Shananitti
B: eeyee…
A1: Abbaan keechanoo itti aansee
B: Abbaan kiyya Arriffatumatti du’e…Haati ilmaan angafaa, haati Jimaatisi, Abbaan keenyas Kolbatti awwaalaman
A1: Akaakayyuu keenchanii kan asitti du’uu danda’an…malee Abbaan keechan, Arriffatatti du’ee Kolbatti awwaalaman…
B: Akaakayyuu keenya, Sambato, kan asitti du’ee asumatti (Bookkotti) awaalame..
A1. Malee Abbaan keessan Arriffatatti du’ee Kolbatti awwaalame
A3: (In Amharic: Abiraachew yemaxxaa lela ye Salale zeriyaa lexaqsuut yechelallu?)
A1: firri aanaan …eenyu kan isin wajjin dhufe mee..isinii wajjin…Salale irraa ka’eetoo hundeen isaanii?
B: Dhugoo, Dhugoo Dilboo jeyama , Gurmuu Giliboo jeyama, Mojoo Dambal jeyama, Qumbii Danbal jeyama…kan nu wajjin dhufe…kan achii ka’aniitoo dhufan…
A1: hundee Salale tii ka’anii kan dhufuu danda’an
B: kan dhufuu dand’an…isaan amma kuun, Adaada kan jeyan jiran…biyya Adaadaa kan jeyan…akka kana ture…

(A1’s Cell phone rings…he answers and says apologetically, he is busy interviewing …and walked away to talk..A2 continues )

A2: wanna hundaa naa deebiftanii…mee geerarsa wayii wa yaadattan jiraa…geerarsa wayii wanta yaadattan…waan tooko…geerarsa yoo jiraate mee naa geeraraa
B: ee’eee…geerarsi in jira…
                doddotiin gubbaa mukiyyee
                aroorecha fakkaattee
                aroon gubbaa mukiyyee
                arabaate fakkaattee
                dibattee gadi baatee
                ulattee gadi baatee
                beekaa gootaa natti fakkaattee
                yaa ijoollee, ammaa ammaa
                goonni baaxii dabsee
                goota gaafa nabsee …
….jenna…akkasitti xabanna

A2: gisee hojiiwoo…gisee haamaa…haamaa xaafiifaarratti, ykn garbuu irratti
B: wanni jedha moo…ee’eee…ee’ee yaa ijoollishe…
A1: akkma akkam….
B: akkam akkam…amma ‘gaa…silaa na gaafattee…haa jennuu…hoo gaafannu kanaa…sila geerartee na furuuf moo, hiyyoolee jechuuf moo, sila maaliif akkana naan jechuu dnadeechee?
A1: in qabna si jalaa oggaa ati jettu….(Butta opened the song as they speak…as it came to him)
B:            qotaa qotaan, gootaraa daraaddaree
                ……………gootaraa daraaddaree
                lolaa lolaan, goofaree abaxxaree
                qotimee yaa ijoollishee …jenna aabboo
(A1/A2 responds as Buttaa calls and sings the refrain…)
                goofaree abaxxaree, goofaree abaxaree…
                in lolta moo, in qotta yaa ijoollishee
                hayyoon guutee, hayyoon guute guutee
                guute garaan in bibilliqee
A1/A2 qabi egaa…
B: maa gad jettanii ugguma xabattan kanaa…tabadhaa adaraa Waaqaa…kan dhugdu daadhii, kan oolte hojjaa…maalumat’ isin rakkise adaraa abbaa kiyyaa…rakkoon wayiituuu hin jiru…
                yaa ijoolleewoo kun hin taatu haree
                maarashaan lafa reeban malee

                (A1/A2: refrain)
                yaa ijooleewoo yoo jette naa jedhii
                -yaa ijoolleewoo
                natti hin kakaasinii
                -yaa ijoollewoo
                yaa ijoolle maaloo
                biyya ijoollee teenyaa
                -yaa ijoolleewoo
                yaa ijoolleewoo
                kun hin taatu haree
                maarashaan lafa reeban malee
                (yaa ijoolleewoo)
                -yaa ijoolleewoo…
kanniisattin aarsaa
-yaa ijoolleewoo
lafoo gurri hinbahuu
-yaa ijoolleewoo
akkamiinan faarsaa
-yaa ijoollee
kun hin taatu haree
maarashaan lafa reeban malee
cheechee hin jettu ree…
cheechee hin jettu ree…
cheechee…gurbee Laga Mojoo…
gurbee Laga Mojoo
gurbee Laga Mojoo
obboleecha Jimaa Buttaa, Cuqqaalaa Buttaa
gurbee Aabbuu ti ibboo
ijoollee Laga Mojoo…
yaa ijoolleewoo
kun hin taatu haree
maarashaan lafa reeban malee
yaa ijoolleewoo
kannisi dammeechee
-yaa ijoolleewoo
haa dammeechu eeguu
-yaa ijoolleewoo
namni lola hin beeknee
-yaa ijoolleewoo
nama dheechuu hin beekuu
-yaa ijoolleewoo…
kun hin taatu haree
maarashaan lafa reeban malee
-yaa ijoolleewoo…gosh gosh…gosh

B:…yaa ijoolle ‘gaa guyyaa taaggalaatan oolee…amma egaa dugduu na dhukkubee,
ka’eetan rafaa, taphadhaa egaa…
A1: ganaa taphanna…ganaa taphannaa? Abbaa koo ati tapha kana hin quuftu idimuma keetuu…
B: ani naa gamete akkaman taha ree…
A1: sii hin gamne ganaadha, yoom…kan dhugdu daadhii dhaa, maal dhadhabdeetoo…
B: abeet! abeet! abeet! maali barri alamiin…maali barri alamiin…yee ijoolle…amma kanumti bara kana keecha seennee…maaluma jenna amma duunu illee in gaabbinaa?
A1/A2: hin gaabbitan dhugaa Rabbii…kan Rabbi kana si agarsiise…
B: adaraa abbaa kiyyaa…adraa Waaqaa…maaloo ijoolle, yee ijoolle…maaloo takka hirraanfadhee…
A1: me jedhi
B: maaloo ibboo..
                kan nagaan nu oolche nagaan bulchu
                -haa bulchu
                daafii, sababii nu haa oolchu
                -haa oolchu
                Waaqi Itoophiyaa nagaa nu haa godhu
                -haa godhu
                Rabbi roobee lafa nu haa gahu
                -haa gahu
                abboo rrobni lafa, ilma ilmoo nu haa magarsu
                -haa magarsu
                horii nu haa guddisu
                -haa guddisu
                sa’a nu haa guddisu
                -yaa guddisu
                muka nu haa guddisu
                -yaa guddisu

(B: maal ijoolle barri alamiin barri akkanaa…maal utuu kuni jiraatee…maan olii-gadi kaachaa baha.., erbee baadhee mataatti…harree hin qabuu, waa tokko hin qabu, ijoollee,
(A1. balaa abbaa lafaati ka gooftaa kiyya…
B: erbee mataatti baadheetan, daa’ima gatiittii tokkotti baadhee, olii-gadi deemaa ture…

                raa Rabbi galanni si haa gahu jedhi gurbaa
                -galanni si haa gahu (3x)
                ayyaana Itoophiyaa galanni haa gahu jedhi
                -galanni haa gahu
                Waaqa Oromoo galanni haa gahu, jedhi
                Waaqa gosaa galanni haa gahu, jedhi
-galanni haa gahu
                Oromoon keenya oolee haa galu jedhi
                -haa galu haa galu
                Mallaa-Shanqillaan Rabbi nagaa nu haa godhu, jedhi
                -gaalaa-Shanqillaan Rabbi nagaa nu haa godhu, jedhi
                nami zariin hunduu haa jiraatu, jedhi
                -haa jiraachisu Waaqayyo

(B: Maarree egaayii, amma an nan rafaa, …ijoolleetooyi…egaa taphadhaa kaa…
A1/A2: ishii..ishii walirraa  fudhanna…
B: taphadhaa…..Mana ol haa seennnu kaa…
A1/A2: …seenaa…seenaa…jireenyi waa baayee qaba…(A1) namnis immoo …nami xinnaan ol guddatu, jaarsa irraa waa fudhata…

(Recorded the environs …and A3 says to the cameraman, inAmharic, “Essuwan bandiraa tawat” mening,  do not include that flag (Ethiopian flag))

SEE WEB LINK to the Youtube