Sengenya dance


Sengenya dance, Kenya

Can you hear the drums
Beating in the dust
Hidden by the trees
And houses of mud?

Can you find the passage
Guarded by the goats
Grazing the tall grass
Moving in circles?

Lines are forming,
Women then men,
Bright colored dresses,
Bright lined skirts.

Moving their feet, shaking their bodies
in a simple rhythm, in a fast pace.
Piercing female voice breaks the rhythm
Couples are formed to complete the dance.

Stamping the right foot men approach
Accompanied by frantic percussion sounds
Women shaking gracefully shoulders and bottoms
They rise from the dust ululating, celebrating love.

Mother Earth is trembling with the sweet laughter.

*The Sengenya dance is native to Digo tribes living along the coast in Kenya. It is an energetic joyous dance performed by men and women at big gatherings, especially at local weddings, and to celebrate the end of Ramadan. A wide variety of indigenous percussive instruments – ngoma drums, kayamba shaker, metal rings played with two sticks, shackles – and flute accompany the dance. Sengenya dancers are dressed in kangas, traditional African dress, and are known for their hip and belly swaying moves.

6 thoughts on “Sengenya dance

    • Good for you Linda! Too often us Westerners get intimidated by frenzied dancing and rhythm and rarely dare to ululate 🙂
      But watching and participating in this dance was definitely one of the heights of my stay! (and providing fun for the local kids who went hysterical watching us hehe) xox

  1. It is a wonderful feeling to dance with abandon. I can hear the drums and the swish of skirts in the scenes you describe. A truly wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing this lighter side of Kenya during this dark time when we are all praying for the safety of the remaining hostages at the mall.

    • I know, it is incredible how much violence we are still dealing with all over the world… I actually really admired Kenyan coastal people for getting along and respecting each other, even though they come from so many different tribes with different religions and often speaking different languages. What is happening in Nairobi is really really too bad… So I am really glad that you could enjoy some of the magic of Kenya through my post. And yes, dance with abandon 🙂 xox

    • Yes you are absolutely right! We were very lucky to meet and hang out with many local people. It is one of the local guys who took us to visit his family who live in the bushes and perform the dance. It was fascinating to see how many more local people and children showed up out of nowhere to see the dance with us! And see us dance 🙂 It was a really really special experience. Thanks for visiting my blog, I will check your link as well. xox

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