By George Orido
Colour and Kenya’s authentic cultural diversity are the two things that always take centre stage at the annual Kenya Music Festival that attracts tens of thousands of participants from all walks of life.
While the 600 classes in the competition are set to allow for every imaginable but reasonable musical and elocution ability to be on stage, the most splendour is in the African folk songs and dances based on the many ethnic sources found within the borders and outside the country.
This class stands out as it is full of teachings of African mores and norms from the old generation to the young ones through oral traditions.
According to a group of girls from Nyanza’s Ahero Girls’ School who performed at the just concluded competition in Meru, the dances have helped them understand traditions better and are able to reconcile them with modernity.
Learning is made through fun and enjoyment, an effective pedagogical approach.
From the costumes of Mukomari Girls’ Secondary School, who staged their dance, Muyoka, one immediately associated the dance with the Isukha people of Western Kenya.
The vigorous performance of Muyoka was complemented by Isikuti players, giving it an electrifying effect. The dance celebrates the beginning of a family unit through a traditional wedding.
The song praises the bride for her good manners and encourages a peaceful and respectful life with her groom.
It also wishes them to have many children — a value traditionally associated with a fruitful marriage.
“The choice of this dance is crucial in helping mentor our girls as they transit from puberty to mature women,” explains the dance choreographer and school principal, Jael Khayosi.
This message resonates with the graceful Dodo dance among the Luos presented by many teams including St Barnabas Girls from Seme and Ahero Girls from Kisumu.