Turkana Dancer with chalk decorations on his face and shoulders
MR 2179 “Turkana Dancer with chalk decorations on his face and shoulders” . Lake Turkana- NFD (Northern Frontier District) Kenya – East Africa – Ektechrome Transparency VA Collection 1967/68
Dance plays and important part in the lives of all the tribes. The principle occasions that call for “ngoma”, the swahili word for dance, are circumcision, initiation, marriage, death, rain and war . But very often ngoma are held simply to kill time in the evening. All tribes have their distinctive dances ,chants, and songs, which vary according to the occasion. They dance in groups,pairs or alone and their inborn sense rhythm manifests its self in the fantastic timing of their steps, the clapping of their hands or the stomping of their feet.
The choruses are sometimes male or female alone -or mixed – and are usually the main accompaniment to which they dance, though a background maybe provided by string,wind and percussion instruments,hand clapping, solo singing or shrill bird-like cries.