Traditional Rwandan Music and Dance
Traditionally, family members gathered together in the evening for company (igitaramo).
They danced, sang, and boasted about what they had accomplished during the day. Other selected dancers (male and female together) called intore ("the elite") danced in the royal court to cheer up the king.
All events in Rwanda are embellished with traditional songs and dance: weddings, birth celebrations, traditional baptism (guterekera), anniversaries, launching of new projects, political parties or the welcoming of important visitors.
Rwandan music and dance are unique. What most distinguishes Rwandese music from other African music is the use of 5/8 rhythm. While dancers dance, members of the chorus clap their hands to give rhythm and to cheer, encourage, and support the dancers.
Rwandan dance has choreography that comprises varied scenarios, namely:
Intore is a sort of war dance which encourages those who wage war or hunt. Intore means "the elite" or "leader." Those who are part of an Intore troupe are selected for their exceptional physical and moral qualities. During their training, not only do they learn to dance but they also receive education in moral values. The Intore dancer is characterized by elegance and littleness.
- Inkinimba is the symbol of strength and stamina, specifically for cattle farmers, and is used to celebrate the harvest.
- Imishayayo is a very soft dance used to gently rock someone.
Rwandan instruments use materials available in the area to create music unique to the country.
- The inanga is a traditional instrument similar to a guitar, and has 9 or 12 strings (made from cow hide), and made from a wood called umyungu.
- The drums are called ingoma, and the drum heads are made of cow hide.
- The umuduli is a single-string traditional instrument.
- The amakondera is a Rwandese horn.