Isikuti Dance

Culture involves arts, customs and habits that characterize a particular society or a nation. It’s through culture that we understand how different communities carry out their traditions and how they live their day to day life.

Today we focus on Abalughya community which is among the 42 tribes in Kenya and mostly found in the western part of Kenya.  Every community is identified by its culture, norms and traditions; this community is well known for the isikuti dance as well as the bull fighting.

A man holding the big drum which is among the drums used during the dance. Photo: David Macharia

Isikuti dance is a traditional and popular dance among the Abalughya community and it’s done by vigorously shaking the shoulders in a harmonized rhythm. The dance derives its name from the drums used in the performance that are played in sets of three a big, medium and a small drum. It’s also accompanied by horn usually an antelope’s horn and assorted metal rattles which blends the rhythm of the dance.

A group of Isikuti dancers entertaining the crowd during the Kakamega Forest Marathon. Photo:David Macharia

This dance is mostly practiced among the Isukha and Idakho sub- communities who are part of the Abalughya community. The dance is mostly played in occasions during the different stages of life such as childbirth, initiations, weddings, funeral, inaugurations, religious festivities, sporting events and other public congregations.

A vigorous dance from Isikuti dancers that got the visitors attracted to it and join. Photo:David Macharia 

There is a great concern among the elders in the community where they say due to technology and evolution future generations may not be able to uphold the isikuti dance. However they try as much as they can to teach the current generation how to play isikuti so as to uphold the Abalughya community. So next time you have an event make sure you invite them and you will not be disappointed with isikuti dance.

Tyson Kiiru

Versatile school of Photography

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