LISTEN to the bwambwa rhythm.
The Bwambwa dancer had a pair of trousers over his head and a "tail" made from a bundle of leaves. There was a strong similarity to the "Ju-ju" dances of the North-West province of Cameroon where the dancers have their heads covered with sack so that you cannot see their faces. Although everyone knows that it is a real person dressed up, they also believe that by dressing up they are possessed by the spirit of the Ju-ju or Bwambwa or Jengi and so are that spirit. We did ask whether a Jengi would be coming, but no-one could tell us. They said that they only know when it arrives. How do they know? They start dancing is the answer. The Jengi will pass through a village and they feel its presence and so know that it is time to make the preparations for the ceremonies.
The rhythms and chanting that we heard at the Bwambwa dance bore an uncanny resemblence to music we had heard two years previously in Chorini, a small village on the north coast of Venezuela. This could be due to the fact that the villagers are descendants of West Africans who were transported to South America as slaves. This would need further investigation
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