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The traditional dances of Kenya are some of the most diverse and popular in Africa. The various types of folk music are based on different ethnic groups that are found in the country. The culture, language, dance and music of every tribe is different from each other. The drum is the most popular musical instrument used in many dances performed around the country. Other famous instruments include; bells, horns, guitar, flutes and whistles.
The music and dance is from the rich culture of Kenya and it can be categorized into folk, traditional and international. Isikuti, a Luhya name for drum is the traditional dance for the Luhya people in Western Kenya. Paired men and women sway to the rhythm of the drums, bells, whistles and horns in their dance style.
The Masai communities have structured dances performed in different occasions. For example, the Masai Jumping Dance which is also called “Adamu” in the Masai language is a dance performed by Masai warriors. They show their strength and stamina by leaping into the air one after the other as the rest of the warriors stand in a circle while they sing. The Masai community do not use any musical instruments when performing their folk songs. Instead, women wear bells and rattles which create jiggling sound as they sing.
Both the Kamba and Chuka people are famous for their acrobatic style of dancing. They have a unique drumming style in which a long drum leans forward between the thighs. Taarab is another for of traditional music in Mombasa. It consists of African and Arabian influence. In this dance style, men, women and the Youth dance in a rhythmic way as they sing poems in Swahili. The people of Mombasa have a unique way of dressing and majority of the people talk in Swahili. Today, Taarab is still popular in the coastal region.
Traditional dance of Kenya has become more modern due to the western and foreign influence. The guitar is the most famous instrument used in the international music. Many modern forms of music have evolved such as reggae, hip-hop, jazz, rap, Afro-Fusion and the Congolese pop. All the modern form of music is very popular to the Kenyan youth especially in urban cities. Some famous modern musicians include Mighty King Kong, Eric Wainaina and Maji Maji. The spread of Christianity in Kenya has also given birth to another form of dance called gospel music, which have spread throughout all the churches.
write by Jocelyn