THE SAMBURU PEOPLE KENYA`S TRADITIONALLY FLAMBOYANT “BUTTERFLY DANCING ETHNIC GROUP” See More




The Samburu people are not so distant relatives to the Maasai although they live just above the equator where the foothills of Mount Kenya merge into the northern desert and slightly south of Lake Turkana in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya in East Africa.

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This is a warrior-race of cattle-owning pastoralists. The Samburu, proud of their culture and traditions, still cherish and retain the customs and ceremonies of their ancestors, unlike many other tribes in Kenya who have been more influenced by Western civilization.



In front of the backdrop of the often barren and dusty horizon, the Samburu people bring life and colour to the landscape either out on the plains swathed in their brilliant red cloth or, even more dazzlingly, in their village with their songs and dances. Typically and traditionally, they use no instruments, even drums. They have dances for various occasions of life. But no matter what the occasion, the men primarily dance by jumping, and high vertical jumping from a standing position is like a competitive sport. Most dances involve the men and women dancing in separate circles with specific moves for each sex, while still coordinating the movements of the two groups. The central musical theme of the Samburu dances is a deep reverberating male vocal sound, a rhythmic chanting hauntingly similar to the territorial call of a lion. Warriors move with a series of astonishing vertical leaps, fiercely encouraged by the cries and shouts of other observing warriors while the women bounce, flip and swirl their magnificent collars of beads.

BY: Kweku Darko Ankrah

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