Traditional Music & Dances

Orunyege – Entogoro Dance

Orunyege – Entogoro Dance / Entertainment in Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom

Orunyege, a cultural dance from Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom in western Uganda is a dance performed at social ceremonies such as Empango, marriage, among other similar social gatherings of joy and jubilation.

The ground crackles and reverberates with an unwavering mild tremor and the air tinkles with the sound of rattles  firmly fitted to the feet of aggressive male dancers stomping to the pulsating rhythm of fervent drummers. The women, dressed in colourful costumes and sash reeds wrapped around their waists, stomp in gentler aggressive rhythm. Air rising, husky male voices meander through the drum rumblings and the nectar-sweet, feminine voices pitch in as if to mellow the uproar. The collective sum of the sound and sight is a compelling performance.

This is a ceremonial dance of the Bunyoro (and shared with Batooro). It is also a courtship dance performed by the youth when it is time for them to choose partners for marriage. The dance was named after the rattles (binyege / ebinyege / entongoro) that are tied on boys’ legs to produce sounds and rhythms. The sound produced by rattles is more exciting as it is well syncopated as the main beat is displaced but everything blends with the song and drum rhythms.

Its origins: Once upon a time, there was a problem when more than 10 men wanted to marry the same beautiful and good-looking girl. What happened is that a very big ceremony would be organized and all the male candidates invited to come and dance. The girl had to choose the best male dancer. It is believed that the best dancers always showed the best marriage life. It was also to see who the strongest among the men was as families in kinsmen did not want to give their beautiful girls to weak men, for when there was a period of drought or famine, one should have a husband who will really struggle to see that he looks for water and food. So in this dance the man who would gets tired first, would lose first and that who would dance till the end would win the game, and the BRIDE.

Watch Banyoro Youth Practicing the Orunyege-Entogoro Dance

See more of Orunyege – Entogoro Dance here.

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