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Meru sound clips

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There are more clips in each of the tribal sections, and a selection of tracks from over twenty tribes here.

Kingua (men's dance)
All I know about this track is that it's from a tape called "Kingua", which I presume is the name of the soloist (please correct me if I'm wrong). The dance, determined by a call and refrain pattern, has a number of similarities to the music of Nilotic tribes, both the jumping dancing (you can hear the singers jumping at the start), and in the chorus response that at times incorporates the guttural "grunting" of the Maasai, Samburu, Turkana and others. However, unlike these Nilotic tribes, the Meru's response verses are shorter, and the singers sing the same words, not parts of rhythms like the Nilotes.
  According to ethnologists, the Meru are Bantu, although as you'll read in my page about Meru history, that distinction is completely pointless. The Meru are in reality a mixture of Bantu, Nilotic and Cushitic, as is intimated by their music.
4:53 low
Wedding dance
3:23 low
Wedding incantation
Not speaking Kimeru, I've only got the information given me by the young woman who let me copy her cassette, namely that this part of the wedding ceremony features elder relatives of the couple being wed advising and reminding them of their conjugal responsibilities. The lectures, of which this is just an extract (the full version caused the young woman to roll her eyes in exasperation!) are given in incantatory style, helped along by the mooing of a cow half way through!
4:10 low
Wedding incantation and dance
The lecture continues, and is finally joined by rattles, underpointing the rhythm, and to which the participants also begin to respond, with the "lecture" changing gradually into a call-and-response, the tempo picking up almost imperceptibly.
5:21 low

Kingua is taken from the cassette, "Kingua", bought at the central market in Meru Town, November 1998.
Wedding ceremony (three tracks) dubbed by Jens Finke from an original recording in Maua, Nyambene Hills, January 1999.


Traditional Music & Cultures of Kenya
Copyright Jens Finke, 2000-2003