Maasai Jumping Dance

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Maasai Dance or Adumu in Masai language can be roughly translated as "Jumping Dance". Maasai music traditionally consists of rhythms provided by a chorus of vocalists singing harmonies while a song leader - olaranyani, sings the melody.

 The olaranyani is usually the singer who can best sing that song, although several individuals may lead a song. The olaranyani begins by singing a line or title (namba) of a song. The group will respond with one unanimous call in acknowledgment, and the olaranyani will sing a verse over the group's rhythmic throat singing. Each song has its specific namba structure based on call-and-response. Adumu or Maasai Jumping dance is performed by the men of the village, who leap into the air to show their strength and stamina as tribal warriors. Each young man will jump as high as he can while the others stand in a circle and sing. The voices of the men get higher as the jumping increases.

 Overall the effect is one of polyphonic syncopation. Women chant lullabies, humming songs, and songs praising their sons. Nambas, the call-and-response pattern, repetition of nonsense phrases, monophonic melodies repeated phrases following each verse being sung on a descending scale, and singers responding to their own verses are characteristic of singing by females. When many Maasai women gather together, they sing and dance among themselves. One exception to the vocal nature of Maasai music is the use of the horn of the Greater Kudu to summon morans for the Eunoto ceremony.

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Both singing and dancing sometimes occur around manyattas, and involve flirting. Young men will form a line and chant rhythmically, “Oooooh-yah”, with a growl and staccato cough along with the thrust and withdrawal of their lower bodies. Girls stand in front of the men and make the same pelvis lunges while singing a high dying fall of “Oiiiyo..yo” in counterpoint to the men. Although bodies come in close proximity, they do not touch.

During singing and dancing performances, the movements of the head and neck are important. As the singers breathe out, the head is stuck out and then tipped farther back when they breathe in. This pattern creates a uniform "bobbing" of the Masai's heads as they sing. Kind of like teenagers at a rock concert. Many Masai songs are sung in a call and response pattern, with the women singing one part and the men responding.

 

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+1 #1 Azahar 2013-03-16 11:05
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