Extatic singing and dancing with Masaï

The first time I got acquainted with traditional ongs of Masaï, was during the descent of Olmoti Crater in Ngorongoro Tanzania. During a three day visit of the family of the Masaï warrior that i sponsored to become a teacher, I was climbing its steep, overgrown slope together with him and his friend. On the way back they started to chant a rhythmic beat. The low range immediatly led to a more firm step. Enjoyed by the unexpected support during walking, I did several attempts to produce the same sound from within my belly but I failed.
Still it touched me deeply to find myself walking in the middle of the pure, wild nature of Tanzania at the rhythm of their ancient vocals.

One year later I was welcomed in this same village with a traditional ceremony. Proudly and with clear enjoyment eight man started chanting a similar rhythm, while they showed the Art of Jumping one by one. Unbelievable how flexible and without visible straining these people jumped up and down. They use a special technique by which this jumping gives them a feeling of happiness. It is like there is flowing energy through their spine.

Last summer during our Ngorongoro Serengeti Safari my travellers and I got included in a dynamic, seductic dance. The vocal rhythm started, while a solo singer sang the melody within a structure of question and response. The Maa language of Masaï with this typical rolling R gives the vocals a truly unique sound.
During their dance men and women seperate themselves from the others to move towards a chosen man or woman with rhytmic movements of the body. At the last moment they suddenly swing their upper body to touch the other person. We were taken away by the fiery vocals, rhythmic bass sounds in combination with the rousing dancing.

The biggest spectacle in Masaï culture is the rite de passage for (young) man to become warriors called Morani. It can take sometimes 20 years before the spiritual leader of Masaï gives the signal to organize this ceremony. Thousands of young men are travelling to a special created village by their mothers, to dance, sing and practise rituals for three to ten days.
Girlfriends of Morani show themselves in their nicest shuka’s and jewelry. They also perform in dancing while their mothers contribute with singing.

In this fantastic video you will experience traditional Masaï singing and dancing. Enjoy it and of course you are welcome to experience and participate in it during our safaris.


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