Friday, 27 December 2013

The Biwagala dance of Basoga people - Cultura Safaris in Uganda

Biwagala dance is one of the most common cultural dances in Uganda and it is believed to have been started in the early quarters of the 18th century. This dance is mainly performed by Basoga ethnic tribe of Uganda found in the East. Basoga people are fond of this dance and it is so interesting that a person is persuaded to concentrate. This unique dance is performed on Biwagala music.

Basoga men playing Biwagala sound
The dance used to be performed in the king’s palace back in the days but today, it s performed at various cultural ceremonies. It was performed to entertain the Busoga king’s visitors.
After the amalgamation of Busoga’s  chiefdom into Busoga kingdom in the early 20th century,Biwagala dance was adopted as the kingdom’s royal dance plus Biwagala songs as the Kingdom’s royal songs. This continued up-to-date and at every Busoga cultural ceremony, this dance has to be performed. Some of the functions where it is performed include; cultural weddings, funerals, traditional prayers and cultural cerebrations.
Biwagala songs are meaningful and they are based on different situations like poverty, good harvest, leadership, marriage, acceptable norms and practices.

How Biwagala is performed
The major instruments used while performing Biwagala dance are trumpets. Biwaga means gourd trumpets in Lusoga and this is why these instruments are used. The trumpets are blown carefully to produce a rhythmic sound (song) on which the dance is performed.

The order followed is that one trumpet is blown and others follow. After the trumpets, drums are played, songs are sung and lastly the dance comes in.
Dancing is done in line and dancers keep on changing their positions in a circular form. Just like 

Baganda, Basoga also tip-toe while dancing and rotate their waists in a circular motion. Some people prefer clapping so as to maintain a rhythmic follow of the dancers.
The singing is kept on a low tone to enable the trumpet sound stand out which makes the whole performance magnificent.

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