African Traditional Dance Music

Music has been a part of every nation’s culture and like any other culture, African culture uses music and dance in their daily activities or occasions like childbirth, war times, religious ceremonies and even ceremonies for their crops. In Africa, music and dance is their language, it is what defines their way of life. Every dance step tells a story, a history, a culture – it is more than just a tradition.

Tribe Dance Music

Africa, as the second largest continent, has a vast collection of traditional music and dances. In fact, the two form of art comes together for a more dramatic way of expressing their culture, rituals and ceremonies. African music are passed orally (not written) from generations to generations.

As part of their history and their culture, their music and dance change accordingly. There is also a transition of music from their childhood to adulthood. Most of the African tribe travel and so did their arts, and during their travel, they met and encountered different tribes with different music and dances which basically influenced them. Thus, a new tone and music is formed.

African music doesn’t really involve a lot of lyrics. It is traditionally composed of chants, hums and rhythms produced by their instruments. However, no matter how less their mouth expresses, their body compensates. Actions such as hand clapping, hips swaying and different gestures of the hands, arms and legs tell a lot of their values and their beliefs.

The rhythm of their music (usually given by the sound of their voices) provides their body the drive to move according to the beat. And each beat and movement expresses something that the tribe understands it is somehow their form of communication.

One example is their warrior dance Agbekor. In this type of dance, music is produced by polyrhythmic percussion instruments. It is a traditional dance wherein the warrior takes an oath before going into war. It is also known as the Atamga which means “the great oath”. The dance is performed with precise movement of the body in accordance to the song which includes a fast and slow sections.

The Kpanlogo, a traditional recreational dance from Ghana western part of Africa, is performed accompanied by an old kpanlogo Ga drum and other instruments such as the nono and fao. The dance is acted by youth of the village and is done as a celebration of their growing tribe. The move of the dance often times are sexually suggestive with the bending of the knees and back.

Another example of a traditional African dance is the Umteyo or the shaking dance of the Xhosa tribe, the Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa. It is usually carry out by the young men of the tribe under the age of 21. Older men also do the dance associated with singing and clapping. On the other hand, the dancers produce a guttural roar by drawing their breaths in and out through a relaxed larynx. Independently, dance alone does not exist. They co-exist with music. The speed of the dancers is basically dependent on the sound and music produced by the musicians of the tribe.