Traditional Leisure of Kenya

With forty two tribes in Kenya, defining a specific entertainment as ‘traditional’ is sort of unimaginable without going into an extreme treatise on the subject. Every tribe has track, dance, costumes and musical instruments particular to their area. This article gives a quick overview of the types of leisure, some examples from varied tribes and where you can find traditional entertainment if you come to Kenya.

Music is a form of traditional entertainment virtually globally so it isn’t any surprise to find Kenyan tribes also singing. Every of the 42 tribes has their own language, so it is easy to inform where the tune is from… as long as you’ll be able to recognise the language! Across the tribes one thing is the same: there are different beats and words for songs associated with the varied ceremonies. This means that when a Kikuyu returns to his village and hears singing he can tell what is happening. It doesn’t suggest however that if a Taita goes to the Kikuyu village he will also be able to tell what is occurring, unless he understands Kikuyu. So each tribe has circumcision songs, party songs, wedding songs, funeral songs, new baby songs and so on.

Alongside with singing comes dancing and, once more, movements differ throughout the tribes. Kikuyus wear bells on their ankles with women and men pairing up, placing palms collectively and swaying. In Luhya tradition, the dance is all concerning the shoulders and for Luos it’s in regards to the hips. The Maasai men leap and it is a show of manliness if they will jump higher than their peers.

Dance is complemented by the traditional costumes which are made from supplies found in a tribe’s area. Luo men wear grass skirts from the reeds by Lake Victoria and cow hide on their back. Towards the coast, Taita males wear kangas from the Swahili culture while the women wear grass skirts. Within the central highlands, the Kikuyus’ costumes are a bit more substantial to protect against the cold, with sheepskin hats confusing many travellers as they look similar to the typical Russian hats! The boys generally wear white and the women a brown-beige colour. Kikuyu males additionally carry swords and have a belt made of animal skin to carry the sword.

Musical instruments often accompany the singing and dancing and most people are acquainted with the African drum. But there are even differences in how the drum is used across Kenya. For instance, the Kamba sit with the drum between their legs while the Luhya hold the drum under their arm. Kamba additionally use a whistle to signify a beat change.

Story-telling is widespread with the old men teaching lessons via tales to the young boys. Nowadays comedy is changing into popular, with sketches performed between music sets. The tales and sketches are normally set in everyday situations that Kenyans can simply relate to.

Bomas of Kenya placed on a lengthy efficiency each afternoon which showcases singing, dancing, costumes and musical instruments from each of the tribes. Shade Hotel in Karen also does a more informal afternoon of traditional leisure every Sunday and on public holidays. For those who visit a Maasai village in your safari, the villagers will carry out a welcome dance for you. The Samburu villages do the same in northern Kenya. Finally, the Lake Turkana Cultural Festival might be the best opportunity to see quite a lot of traditional entertainment. A gathering of 14 tribes from northern Kenya, this Festival is a celebration of various cultures living together. They sing, they dance, they build huts, they cook, they dress traditionally – it’s unbelievable! It’s held every Could in Loiyangalani on the shore of Lake Turkana and well definitely worth the journey.

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