By Kariamu Welsh-Asante
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Extra info for African dance
Igunnu is exceedingly tall, often reaching 12 feet or more, and has several graduated tiers of panels, streamers, or tassels in white color with red trim. Underneath the panels may be any multicolored and designed materials that are revealed when Igunnu moves and causes the panels to shift or wave. Near the bottom of the masquerade is a circular skirting of any color, which must widen when he expands his dance steps. q 3/25/04 8:34 PM Page 54 54 AFRICAN DANCE body. Singing is performed mostly by women but is taken up by men, whose songs usually differ.
This could lead to a serious battle instead of a mock battle. Sons and other male kin of the deceased dance the Nkwa Ese. M. Opoku, the Bamaya dance of Ghana is about a man who was hungry and did not have money to buy food. Food is generally found where women are, so he decided to disguise himself as a woman to gain easy access to the market, where he stole a chicken. He was caught and unveiled. Men adorn themselves in skirts with frill around the waist to imitate the movement of a woman’s hips in the Bamaya.
Also used is the Sirige mask, which measures up to 20 feet and is made of the same material. Other accessories include dyed fibers that cover wrists, ankles, and the lower portion of the body. A drum, beating out the Oduboy rhythm, signifies the start of the dance, but there is a specific song that represents each of the nine masks. Tyelige is a Kufulo and Fono people (Ivory Coast) funeral dance that is danced by young men who wear masks and a one-piece knit suit that covers the entire body. It is trimmed with multicolored raffia fringes at the waist and ankles.
African dance by Kariamu Welsh-Asante