First Night in Kenya

A very special first night in Mombasa.  I sang an impromptu set with the Sunshine Boys, and then some members of the Giriama tribe – the largest coastal tribe in Kenya – demonstrated a harvest ritual dance.  It inevitably felt a little grin-and-grass-skirts for-the-tourists, but the energy was still electric and the drumming made my bones shudder.

This weekend is the 50-year anniversary celebration of Kenyan independence, but this year and next are also the centenary of fierce-spirited Giriama warrior and folk heroine Mekatilili wa Menza leading her people in an uprising against the British Colonial Administration.  Her efforts succeeded in obtaining greater freedoms and the easing of labour demands for her tribe.

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