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Kenya Traditional Dance

Kenya traditional dance is one of the major cultures of the community. Traditional Kenya dances help to improve Tourism, and several reserves in the country, also boost the revenue and popularity of the people.

Kenya is located in the east part of Africa with a population of about 48 million people. The official language of this distinct tribe is the native Swahili and English. It is home to diverse tribes of people and clan with over 60 languages and more than 40 ethnic groups.

In Kenya, everyone is a multi-lingual speaker – having a good command of two or more native language. Children help their parents on the farms and watch over the cattle in times where they are supposed to be in school. Although education is free, they choose to assist the family in their domestic occupations. This is usually farming and cattle rearing.

In terms of beliefs, custom and history, Kenyans use the arts of music, dance, storytelling, and poem to pass their heritage to the younger generations and to entertain guest.

The diversity in Kenya culture can be attributed to being is location. Kenya is located between the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria where trades are carried out; around Africa and neighbouring countries. Due to the constant meetings of cultures, the traditional Kenya culture was influenced and diversified.

Dress style in Kenya is a distinctive style with a mixed culture of Africa, Arabic, Indian and European culture. However, in present times, the country has drawn closer to their African heritage through their food, music and traditional Kenya dances.

Kenya traditional dance is one of several ways through which traditions are upheld and celebrated and today we will be exploring some of the types of Kenya traditional dance.

Welcome my friends. Today, we will take a tour through the dynamic Kenya traditional dance. There is a plate of fruits beside you, sit and relax as we explore this interesting culture.

Kayamba Dance Tradition

Kenyan traditional dance
Kayamba instrument

Kayamba dance is derived from the musical instrument called kayamba. It is an African musical instrument made from woods with a rectangular shape. When played, carried with both hands, then shake vigorously, the kayamba produces melodies.

The performers of kayamba traditional dance are a group of women with a major vocalist. Music is sung in a call and response way, allowing the women to dance well. The males in the group also respond as the lead woman vocalist gives the call.

Kenya traditional dance kayamba, is a dance movement that involves shaking of the shoulders vigorously. This dance style can go on for hours but the formation changes as the dance progress. Each kayamba group has its peculiar leg movement and formation.

You might be wondering how just shaking of the shoulders is a dance form but trust me when you see these ladies on the moves, you will be amazed and blown away by the strength and meekness these performers carry.

Along with this dance, are the male instrumentalists. The males do not participate in the dance movement but play the kayamba instrument for the ladies. In between the dance, a Kenya traditional instrument Is played called the Chivoti. The chivoti is a flute made from bamboo or wood. Within this dance, we also have Ndzuda. A musical instrument made from iron and they are also called jingles in English.

With the combination of these entire musical elements with the dance, the show is spectacular.

Another interesting aspect of Kenya traditional dance kayamba is the costume. The dress used for this demonstration is like a cape. It is sewn into the dress that when you shake your shoulders, creates its unique effect.

Above all this Kenya traditional dance is a sight to behold.

Mwomboko Traditional Dance

Mwomboko traditional Kenyan dance
Mwomboko dance

Kenya traditional dance Mwomboko is a dance among the kikuyu tribe – the largest ethnic group in the country. It is a dance performed by the elderly in the community to remember the day the country got independence and a sign of respect. It is a dance performed during historical events such as Madaraka day.

The name Mwomboko evolved from the Kikuyu word eruption. Tales have it that the dance is popular because the couples can embrace themselves which is unlikely in the Kenya culture.

Myths also have it that the Mwomboko dance was a soft rebellion against British rule. In the early days, Kenyan’s used dance to discuss how to be free from colonial rule. An example of such a dance is the Murithngu dance. The colonial maters notice this and stop all forms of dance.

Later on, the people came up with the mwomboko dance and when they presented it to the colonial masters, they accepted it because it was soft and it looks more like their dance step. Unknown to them, it was still passing a message and also a show of mockery to the masters.

The dance movement is like a British waltz. Two steps to the right, two steps to the left and a side switch.

Musical instrument use during this dance is the Ndzuda (jingles) and flutes.

This Kenya traditional dance is accepted by both the youth and elderly and it is different from the usual African movement that requires lots of energy.

Adumu Dance

Traditional Kenyan dance Adumu
Adumu dance

This is a traditional Kenyan dance from the Maasai people in Ewangan village. The adumu dance is a cultural practice that has been in existence for years. It is the observe ceremony of Maasai warriors for 10 days that includes dancing and singing.

Kenya traditional dance is one famous tradition that has spread like wide fire due to its diversity in cultures. Eunoto is one of such ceremonies, which have gained worldwide attention. It is in this ceremony, the Adumu dance is performed.

It is a celebration of age groups coming together after 10years they had their initiation. Before the dance, the warriors form a semi-circle and one after the other; they come inside and jump elegantly. The more elegant and high a warrior jumps, the more applauds and admirals he gets.

They jump to the rhythm, keeping the body straight as possible, and the heels should not touch the ground between jumps.

Although no musical instruments are used during the dance, the warriors create beats from jumping with their heels. In other words, their feet do not leave the ground but the back of the leg is raised high enough to make a sound with a good number of people. It is like jumping with just your back heels.

Also in terms of costume, the warriors carry a long straight stick, wear earrings, and jingles on their feet. This also adds sound effects to the dance – producing a basic rhythm.

Women and children chip into the deep guttural sounds made by the warriors with high pitch sound. They also put on face and leg paintings in honour of the celebration.

Chakacha Traditional Dance

If you want to learn how to sway your hips, visit the Maasai women in Kenya because they are excellent at it. The chakacha dance is a dance familiar with Kenyan coastal regions which are mostly occupied by the Swahili people. This Kenya traditional dance is performed and watched by women.

Before this time, it was performed at wedding events but now, contemporary musicians are adding it to their performance.

Chakacha dance is all about swinging the hips to the drum beats. The dancers dress in fitting transparent cloths and have a belt around their waist, or a piece of cloth rolled, then tired at the lower part of the waist – this is for easy movement.

Conclusion

Kenya traditional dance is integrated into the lives of the people. with their diversity comes their uniqueness in different forms of dance.

The kayamba dance, adumu dance, chakacha dance, and mwomboko dance are but a few of their dance styles. They are friendly people with happy traditions that you will love.

Thanks for being here friends. I hope you enjoyed this session. Do let me know your thoughts about this article, and you can also request an article about any African culture you would love to know about.

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