As Kenya celebrates its 60th year of self-independence, Kenyans who thronged to the Embu stadium were treated to a cultural dance by the Ramogi cultural dancers or the Kogan Kochia. With their colourful outfits, immaculate feathered headdresses and vigorous dance, they brought much need pomp and colour ahead of the President’s arrival.
One of the dancers, as per the commentators is 90 years old.
Who are they?
The Ramogi Dancers from Homa Bay County are a traditional men’s troupe composed of two teams, the Kagan and Kochia dancers that perform authentic Luo dances of western Kenya. Traditionally the dances would be performed during burial ceremonies, called tero buru.
Nowadays, the dancers provide entertainment during state functions, wedding ceremonies and other rites, in addition to burial ceremonies.
The troupe consists of dancers Paul Orwa Apiyo. Daniel Akumu Mandha, Alfred Anyango Migure, James Ojuok Ochieng’, Kennedy Odhiambo Olela, John Oyoi Ooyi, Joseph Aludo Owaka, John Owuor Oyugi and Stanbradox Odhiambo Oyugi.
Understanding the artistic brilliance of the Ramogi Cultural Dancers
The Ramogi Cultural Dancers are renowned for their high-energy performances, showcasing a fusion of music, dance, and storytelling. Their choreography celebrates the Luo people’s way of life, highlighting their beliefs, customs, and daily activities.
Dance plays a pivotal role in Luo culture, and the Ramogi Cultural Dancers masterfully express various themes through their movements. They showcase the lively Odi dance, as seen at this year’s celebration, is characterized by swift footwork, graceful arm gestures, and energetic jumps. This dance form often is used to celebrate joyous celebrations.
The Ramogi Cultural Dancers’ mesmerising performances are usually accompanied by a diverse array of traditional musical instruments, each contributing to the music that resonates through their choreography. The nyatiti, a stringed instrument similar to a lyre, takes centre stage, producing soothing melodies that evoke a sense of nostalgia and cultural pride. Other instruments like the orutu (a one-stringed fiddle), oporo (a horn made from animal horns), and drums add depth and rhythm to the performances, creating an immersive experience for the audience.
Entertainment for state events is produced by the Permanent Presidential Music Commission (PPMC).