Tuesday, October 18, 2005


dance, originally uploaded by vibromama.

One night we happened on a traditional summer dance performed by local folk in front of the public hall in the village of Kasari. In this dance the villagers form a circle; some women carry drums and lead the circle’s movements while verses of old songs are sung alternately by women and men. Gradually the pace of the drums quickens until no one can keep up; then a new dance begins after a short break. The locals received us enthusiastically and we were invited to join in. Afterwards, we accepted invitations to several parties, with drinking, singing and playing of the traditional banjo-like shamisen. Visitors here in the islands, we were told, bring good luck and blessings to a house just by coming; that is why everyone was so excited to have us over. We made some instant friends, including several young women who had been leading the dance. We talked with them into the night about their reasons to have stayed here while all other young people have already left for the ‘mainland’. We were impressed to hear that they stayed because they wanted to learn the local songs and dances from the village’s elders, the last people who know them well. Evidently this centuries-old tradition is to continue at least another full generation.


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