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As we were stating in a previous article, Africa always has so much to offer whether it is the fauna, the landscapes or a huge variety of cultures and traditions. Many of the people outside the cities or the modern life often choose to live after ancient laws, keeping their devotion to the tribe. The Maasai people are a perfect example for understanding the special connection between humans and nature.

The Maasai (also called Masai) are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Due to their distinctive customs, dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa, they are among the most well known of African ethnic groups.

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Maasai society is strongly patriarchal in nature with elder men, sometimes joined by retired elders, deciding most major matters for each Maasai group. The central human figure in the Maasai religious system is the laibon (ritual leader) who may be involved in: shamanistic healing, divination and prophecy, ensuring success in war or adequate rainfall.

A particularity of their culture is the initiation of the young people in their long journey to become warriors and reliable men of the tribe.

Clipboard02Kenyan Students Perform Maasai Song

Music and dance

Maasai music traditionally consists of rhythms provided by a chorus of vocalists singing harmonies while a song leader, or olaranyani, sings the melody. Women chant lullabies, humming songs, and songs praising their sons. Both singing and dancing sometimes occur around ceremonies and involve flirting. Young men will form a line and chant rhythmically “Oooooh-yah”, 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.

The Maasai dance is called adamu (“the jumping dance”) and is performed when a circle is formed by the warriors, and one or two at a time will enter the center to begin jumping while maintaining a narrow posture, never letting their heels touch the ground. Members of the group may raise the pitch of their voices based on the height of the jump.

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