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  • Hiyari ya Moyowo

    Country  Pemba
    Genres roots traditional
    FestivalSauti za Busara 2005
    Hiyari ya Moyowo
    Hiyari ya Moyowo

    Kirumbizi is a unique kind of stick dance and one of the earliest traditional types of ngoma from Pemba island, a tradition which has been handed down from generation to generation over centuries. According to Mzee Omar Khamisi, leader of Hiyari ya Moyowo group, kirumbizi has similar origins to the bullfighting tradition ("ngoma ya ng'ombe"), both believed to be brought originally to the island by the Portuguese and still popular today.


    Hiyari ya Moyowo is one of the few surviving groups which still performs kirumbizi in both Unguja and Pemba islands. Since 1974 they have been performing this special traditional ngoma and dance at wedding ceremonies, cultural events, public, religious feasts and government events. Kirumbizi consists of 12 to 30 dancers mostly men. A circle is made and two dancers get in the middle at a time both holding sticks thrashing and blocking strokes expertly. In most cases the number of women does not exceed five and they sing and clap to cheer on the dancers in the middle of the circle. Instruments used in kirumbizi are 2-3 drums, a piece of aluminum sheet and zumari.

    The same group also performs kibati ngoma, also featured in the Festival. Kibati is one of the most popular and entertaining traditional ngoma from Pemba island. Instruments used are local drums and percussion, while the style of music delivery is machine-gun fire rap and a lot of joking (eg on Nia Safi Group's recent Kibati recording whereby the lead singer tells how he hates a certain person so much and wishes him/her to develop a huge boil under their armpit which never heals or bursts!) After the jokes, the percussion storms in for everyone to dance a bit until it is time for other series of jokes and drumming.

    Witnessing kibati ngoma live adds much weight to the argument that rap music really did originate centuries ago in Africa.