Monday, November 21, 2011

An Explosion of Culture

Overcome with a desire to do something different on a Friday night and an imminent power cut looming, we decided that we needed a little culture in our lives.  It was decided that Ndere Centre was the place to be!

The Ndere Centre is home to the Ndere Troupe who performs several times per week in an outdoor amphitheatre housed on 9 acres of well manicured gardens right in the heart of Kampala.  We arrive just as the day's last light is fading and enter the seating area and find a set to the sound of many large drums are beating, the vibrations penetrate our inner beings and we instantly feel welcome.

Ndere means flute and was chosen as the name for the troupe because of it's beautiful sound and for it's universal unity in every culture in the world.  The troupe was formed in 1986 and had very humble beginnings.  In the early part of the new millennium we often took guests to Ndere's weekly show at the Nile Gardens (which is now the Serena Hotel) for a nominal entrance fee of which I was told by Rwangyezi Stephen the troupe's founder was a hotel charge, the troupe was performing at no cost to expose their existence.  Their hard work paid off as they now they have their own cultural centre.

Throughout the performance we are taken to many regions of Uganda.  Every song tells a story of culture, wisdom and history in their traditional form of storytelling, singing, dancing and dress and are accompanied by traditional stringed, percussive and wind instruments.  The show is interactive with the audience which makes for a real explosion of cultures. 

The warmth and enthusiasm of the performers, the beautiful music and expressive traditional dancing which makes up the performance is not to be missed.  We leave with smiles and our faces.  The night has been a strong reminder to us why we enjoy life in Africa not to mention a great way to escape the darkness of a load shedding night.

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