If you find yourself in Maasailand, hopefully you will have the opportunity to witness the traditional singing and dancing that has mesmerized guests for decades. Maasai don’t typically use instruments, with the notable exception of the Greater Kudu horn used to summon morans (warriors) for the Eunoto Ceremony, the coming of age ceremony for a warrior. The ceremony involves ten or more days of singing, dancing, and rituals – including the Adumu!

Other traditional dances celebrate the blessing of cattle, weddings, or lion kills. During these dances, the beads provide additional rhythm and jingling sounds. Women occasionally also wear bells or rattles for added accompaniment.

Maasai music typically has two parts: rhythmic harmonies provided by a chorus of vocalists and the melody performed by the song leader(s) or olaranyani. The structure of songs is call-and-response between the olaranyani and the rest of the group. Head movements are also important to Maasai songs with a tilt back for inward breaths and tilt forward for outward breaths. The result is an entrancing syncopated rhythm as individuals sing different pitches. It is said that the captivating effect is felt most strongly when you participate!

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