Music and Dance in Rwanda.
Music and dance are an essential part to be played when it comes to the African cultures and traditions. For almost everything that happened in any given community, a song was sung and dances were performed as a form of celebration. Some of the festivities included marriages, naming ceremonies, harvests, deaths and births, community and family gatherings to mention but a handful. During these occasions, communities and families gathered and joined in the celebration which involved telling stories, eating and drinking together and playing games too.
In Rwanda, music and dance lighten and brighten up almost every occasion both for the local residents and foreigners visiting y has Rwanda. Tourism today is one major factor that has and is still contributing to making the performers of these songs and dances a famously sought for activity in Rwanda. A number of hotels and lodging facilities have traditional dance troupes that perform to the guests mostly in the afternoon or evening times. A Rwandan traditional dance group is comprised of dancers and a band of about 5-7 people that sing melodiously with tunes that capture the soul.
Here is a list of some of the famous traditional dances found in Rwanda.
The Intore Dance of Warriors.
Intore is a word in Kinyarwanda that is loosely translated to mean Leaders and or the Chosen ones. In this dance, the men with great moral and physical abilities are chosen and taught the day to day behaviors and conducts needed in the Royal Court before their King who was referred to as the Mwami in Rwanda. Whoever watched this dance could see inspiration in it. The dance however is said to be more than just a dance especially since you could see tales being told; of how they prepared for battles, their hunting experiences, and the celebration of their victories. All three of the tribal groups in Rwanda take part in this dance. Many audiences today join in by clapping their hands in harmony with the drums which gives the dancers morale to keep on performing with vigor and energy.
The Umushayayo/ Umushangiriro.
This dance is also known as the dance of the women. Unlike that of the men, this one is a lot more graceful and gentle making it an extra-ordinary dance in Africa. In this dance women do a slow movement which portrays purity, radiance, goodness and kindness not forgetting the beauty of the African woman. This dance is based on the Ankole cattle movement.
The Dance of Courtship/ Ukurambagiza.
The unmarried women are allowed to participate in this dance until the day they are taken away by their husbands. This dance is also called the Dance of fiancés (Ukurambagiza). This helps let their beauty be portrayed in their dance and movements. Some of the bird’s rituals are shown in this dance, like the Grey Crested Crane’s mating dance which is a courteous dance to watch.
The Harvest/ Umuganura.
Here, communities come together in the celebration of the first harvest. They meet and share in the fruits gathered, eat drink and down local brew. The women dress up in gowns worn during festivities and dance in honor of the divine being who provided an abundance harvest. Blessings are also made for the seeds meant to be planted in the following season during this time.
These were some of the many dances that were and are still being performed in Rwanda. Instruments used in these traditional performances include the Inanga (a guitar like musical Instrument), Ingoma (a drum), Umuduli (Instrument like a bow with only one string) and Amakondera (a horn). With these, be sure to delight your ears to the sounds of beautiful traditional Rwandan music.