Friday, 25 January 2013

Zambia. The Songs Of Mukanda

"Every society needs some form education to transform children into adults, as well as some means of formally distinguishing the immature from the mature. For the Luvale, this function is performed by Mukanda. Mukanda begins with all-night singing and dancing, accompanied by four drums, in the village centre. Men and women of all ages gather from nearby villages, creating a crowd of several hundred people. The next day, the novices are led into the bush to be circumcised and begin their period of seclusion. The adults clear a space in the bush and construct a large enclosure of branches and leaves where the boys sleep. During their seclusion, the novices live under a variety of restrictions and taboos. They learn the secrets of mukanda from adult guardians (vilombola), who also train the novices in the skills they need for daily life. The novices live in seclusion for about one month, the time it takes their circumcision wounds to heal. When the seclusion period ends, the novices are led to the river, where they undergo a purification ceremony (kulyachisa). The training ends with a final ceremony. The boys officially return from the bush, accompanied by singing and dancing that continues all night." Recorded between 1982 and 1984 and features the musical aspects of the novices' lives during the seclusion period. Excerpts can be heard here. Liner Notes included. 

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