African music is nearly always coupled with some other art form, such as poetry, ritual or dance, and it constitutes one of the most revealing forms of expression of the African life and soul. They have a sense of rhythm. Some tribes combine dance and music, and they explain history and the social elements in a form like the theater of today. Dances were most of the time closely related with religion, ancestral worship and spiritualism.
We have to understand that there is an interaction between social and cultural background within different communities in Uganda. Every community or tribe has its own religious beliefs. All rituals are organised, with dances being performed by communities in order to worship or appease the gods, in order to ask for a good harvest before sowing, at the occasion of midsummer or midwinter festival, or just on the occasion of entering a new lunar phase. Or if there was need of rain. The gods were asked for fertility, or the people tried to appease the demons or diminish their influence. Everybody was invited to be present to honour the situation and to thank the gods.
These dances are part of everyday-life, they are old traditions, handed down from generation to generation, with a deep cultural background being present in a ceremony or a ritual to thank the gods, or they can constitute a local social interaction, such as the wedding party or the burial ceremonial for an important personality; courtship dance to bring together the new pairs, or ritual dances for a boy becoming a man; or it could simply be a gathering leading to a party with dance, or there has been arranged a party for guests, etc. Dance is also expression of joie de vivre.
- Baakisiimba, Nankasa, Muwogola is a traditional folk dance that originated in the palace of the King of Buganda, which is near by the Lake Victoria, in which there is the home of Nalubaale, the wife of Lubaale, one of the gods of the Baganda people.
Baganda people performing their cultural dance
The 5.5 million Baganda (singular Muganda; often referred to simply by the root word and adjective, Ganda) make up the largest Ugandan ethnic group, representing approximately 20% of Uganda's total 28 million population. The people of Buganda are referred to as Baganda (the singular form is Muganda), their language is referred to as Luganda and they refer to their customs as Kiganda customs. Sometimes the generic term Ganda is used for all the above (especially by foreign scholars). Buganda is home to the nation's political and commercial capital, Kampala; as well as the country's main international airport, Entebbe.
'Uganda' (a Kiswahili word for 'Land of the Ganda') was the name used by the Arab and Swahili traders on the East African coast to refer to the Kingdom of Buganda.
A former Bugandan king (kabaka) greatly enjoyed the local beer, tonto omwenge. Tonto is made from banana plants, and the name is taken from the Lugandan word tontomera, which means, "Do not knock me". At one gathering, this king drank too much of the beer and became quite happy. (In Buganda, it is taboo to say that the king is drunk; you can only say that the king is very happy.) The king then started praising the people who had made the beer, saying abaakisiimba, which means "those who planted the bananas", and bebaakiwoomya, "they made it delicious".
The musicians at this gathering created an abaakisiimba rhythm that imitated the words of the king, who was so happy and relaxed that he began to move and dance. While the musicians mimicked the king's words on their drums, the women imitated the king's movements, which eventually became a dance that is now performed throughout Buganda by all generations. There are three major movements in this dance: the first is Baakisiimba, the second is Nankasa, and the third is Muwogola.