Illinois Wesleyan University Swahili Expressive Arts Collection (Illinois Wesleyan University)
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Ngoma Memories: How Ritual Music and Dance Shaped the Northern Kenya Coast
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TitleNgoma Memories: How Ritual Music and Dance Shaped the Northern Kenya Coast
SubjectSwahili Dance
Religious Life and Customs
Maulidi
Lamu, Kenya, Africa
DescriptionThis essay integrates ethnographic data collected between Mombasa and the Lamu archipelago in Kenya into the growing body of scholarship on Swahili music and dance (ngoma) traditions. The analysis underscores how the Swahili have used ngoma events to stake claims to higher positions on the social ladder, negotiate difference, create socioeconomic security networks, establish and mark group identity, connect to the spirit world, and pass through various stages of the life cycle. Through a rich array of historical accounts by visitors to the coast, whose texts complement oral histories of coastal residents, the importance of ngoma in the Swahili-ization of the East African coast becomes apparent. A comprehensive understanding of the part ngoma organizations have played in the recreation and re-creation of Swahili society is possible only when one factors in the contributions made by residents of the northernmost portion of the "Swahili coast." (abstract)
CreatorRebecca Gearhart, Ph.D.
Collection NameSwahili Expressive Arts Collection (Illinois Wesleyan University)
RightsRebecca Gearhart, Ph.D., Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois Wesleyan University retains the rights to this material. Permission to reproduce these images must be granted by Professor Gearhart. Please contact her at rgearhar@iwu.edu for more information.
Date.Original2005
Date.Digital2005
Digitization SpecsDue to publisher agreements, access to this article is limited to the IWU community.
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