Lalibalocc - Living in the endless Blessing

Itsushi Kawase
25 minutes


Lalibalocc (singular: Lalibala/Hamina) are the group of wandering singers in Ethiopia who are believed to share the oral tradition, which condemns them and their descendants to leprosy unless they sing, beg and bless for alms in the morning.The film focuses on the performers’ creativity, by specifically centering on the use of rhetorical expressions in interactions with the audience. The film presents the daily activities of an elder Lalibalocc couple who come annually to Gondar, the ancient capital of Ethiopia.Before Lalibalocc start singing, they ask neighbors the name, religion and occupation of the owner of the house. Thus, the song lyrics are contrived in a flexible way to uplift the feeling of the listeners according to the personal information they obtain from this sort of “research”. Once Lalibalocc receive alms in the form of money, clothes and food, they sing particular forms of blessing verse-wishing prosperity to the listener before moving to the next residence. People in Gondar have variable reaction to Lalibalocc: some welcome them sincerely while others refuse them with deep-seated antipathy.