Venus and her less sparkling colleagues were just peeking over the whistling thorn trees and the distant lion’s baritone was backed by a crackling percussion from the roaring fire.
My hands were clamped around a chilled malt beer but I was yet to drink as I was, alongside a dozen others, still bewildered by my afternoon’s surfeit of spots. A lazy half-moon barely illuminated the plains ahead of me as someone offered a toast to our three guides and I slowly bought the beer to my lips.
In the distance there was a sudden whooping and keening: my new-found bush knowledge told me this must be hyenas or jackals, but out of the dusk shimmering, two-legged crimson figures appeared, the fire illuminating their shining countenances. Their frenzied feet stamped and the lead voice demanded a rasping, rising chorus. Then they jumped, their jewellery and bright shukas hovering as they defied gravity with rhythmic grace and élan.
It was mesmerising, the beat is still pulsing in my head, cutting through theStereophonics and Mumford and the rest of my morning’s playlist. This spiritual dance was a million miles away from some of the so-called Maasai freakshows that addle Kenya’s large coastal hotels.
Patrick Koriata spent fifteen minutes explaining the rituals,something he did proudly and eloquently, I was moved, I was not the only one. This is not something on a timetable. It is rarely performed, but I was entranced ‘Emma, please let me know in advance if there is a chance of witnessing this again, I will be on the first plane out’ a Canadian Kicheche fan said. She meant it, I could see why.
Jon Holmes presents the massively popular XFM breakfast show from 06.00 to 10.00 Monday to Friday. He is also introducing Paul Goldstein’s annual ‘MARA WATCH’ charity lecture as he did last year. For tickets for 3rd December at The click here.
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