Samburu welcome

Samburu welcome

Turkana women's presence is strong; the chanting, sometimes overpowering

Turkana women


Recent fieldwork in northern Kenya took me to Samburu District where, over the course of several days, I was fortunate to view Samburu- and Turkana-traditional dancing. I paid for the viewing; videotaping and photography were both allowed.

The dancing reminded me (a bit) of the days I spent, 15 years ago, practicing with the National Dance Theatre of Kenya in Nairobi. Those dances were mostly coastal in origin. Working with such artists was both an honor and a privilege.

Each day, I was reminded of the tremendous challenges the dancers faced as food providers, as well as emerging artists. Never were the challenges so great as now, with much of the country facing starvation (see The fact that such brilliant dancers continue to practice their craft, and thus, protect cherished traditions, is reason to hope that their work may some day be valued appropriately in the cash economy in which we are all enmeshed.

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