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Ngoma (a Swahili word which literally means ‘drum’) are happenings during which music, dance and song act together to realise performances related to the most important rites of the Swahili communities’ cycle of social life. All the ngoma performances reproduced here are ‘planned performances’ which means that they were not recorded during the rituals to which they belong. They were recorded in order to complete a PhD research which was based on contemporary times.
This performance, which is, in more specific terms, an initiation ngoma, is native to the southern region of mainland Tanzania, but, as seen in the text of the songs (tunaendeleza utamaduni, Watanzania tudumishe utamaduni), it speaks about the national culture of the country. This ‘evolution’ of the ngoma’s choreography depends on the cultural policy adopted after Tanzania's independence.
This recording comes from the Verba Africana Series by Daniela Merolla. The Series publishes video recording of African verbal arts on CDRoms, DVDs and the Internet. This series responds to the increasing need for new electronic tools that integrate the written and audio-visual materials for research, teaching and learning of African languages and oral literatures. Daniela Merolla, the director and editor of the collection, has been working on this ongoing series since 2005. Please see the Verba Africana website for further resources on the collection, including interviews and text analyses.