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Kaptel traditional dancers ‘keeping the culture alive’

Despite the changes in time through education and religion, Kaptel Cultural dancers in Nandi County have defied odds in a modern society to stand its test of time.

In every political or social function organized by politicians, the traditional dancers would take the stage dancing the cultural folk songs, to mark the climax of the event.

Started in 1957 by 53 members of Tibing’ot clan, the group which was mainly composed of aging men and women would spin the arrows and swing their bodies uniformly in tandem with drum beats.

According to Silvester Saina, the dancing group’s chairperson stated that the choir was majorly formed to cherish leaders, adding that singing cultural music was never a talent rather than a social responsibility.

Cultural music attire includes jingles, headgears and gowns made from the skins of the Columbus monkeys and adorned with cowries.

“Some of the pioneers of the cultural group have since died and some are aging. We hope the future generation will take over from us to showcase our culture and entertain top leaders in government,” she said

Philip Kemboi, 72, the choir’s soloist noted that singing had become a source of income though not reliable since there were no regular state functions.

“We used to compose songs for politicians during every campaign period and we were paid handsomely. We hope as campaigns start we will be able to perform more frequently so that we can sustain our livelihoods,” he said

According to Kemboi, the remaining active Kaptel Cultural dancers are currently 30, while around five retired from the singing due to age related ailments.

Kemboi noted that cultural songs are fading, as none of the young generation can embrace the beautiful songs of our tribe.

He said the beautiful songs are going to be forgotten and the music instruments and attire are fast vanishing.

“Most of our children are not ready to inherit or be trained on our cultural values we inherited from our forefathers. Parents prefer to take their children to school,” he said.

David Keter, the secretary of the group stated that they have recorded some of the music but due to lack of finance, they are unable to continue producing more songs enhancing good morals in the society.

By Linet Wafula

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