The Ozidi Saga is an epic because of the scale of its conception and its cultural relevance. But it belongs, at a basic formal level, to the class of oral narratives usually classified as chante-fable, a free-form story interspersed with songs that often draw participation from members of the audience (Kubik, 134). It is, indeed, unlikely that verbal art of this scale can be achieved or sustained without the sort of impetus that music and song lend to a full-scale performance. Epic narration, as anyone who has observed it would readily agree, demands such an enormous amount of energy—physical, mental, emotional, and otherwise—that many artists working in that fi eld are known to indulge in substances (alcohol, at the very least) that would give them the level of “high” needed to rise to the occasion. Music is no less uplifting as an impetus, and it would be hard to quarrel with Karl Reichl's thoughts on the part it plays in the aesthetic achievement of many an oral epic: “The neglect of the musical side of epic raises a fundamental question of aesthetics: is the interpretation of epic as poetry, as words only, justifiable? Or are we missing an essential part of the nature of oral epic when music is ignored?” (2).
Clark-Bekederemo tells us, in his introductory essay, of Okabou's performance of The Ozidi Saga: “Songs and incantations, accompanied by an orchestra, constitute the score of the saga” (xlix). So far we have been discussing insights yielded by the narrative text of The Ozidi Saga. But we need to be reminded that narrative performances of this kind are exactly what Ruth Stone, in her study of the Woi epic of the Kpelle of Liberia, has called a “music event”: “Never does one think of the teller as just telling the epic, for the music is an integral and core part. . . . The modes of performance—song and narrative—are not completely isolated one from another” (3, 6).