I have attended my fair share of weddings in my years of celibacy and uppity uprightness and I must confess that Kisii weddings are the least favorite of my lot. Look, their women have curves for endless days. Ample bottoms- bells for asses, and fair colored skins that would have you think they bathe in milk and udder by-products for days on end. If all the Kisii women swayed to a beat in unison, the earth would miss meeting its daily orbit by the merest of whiskers because heaven knows when it created them, the mounds for weights and curves was finely stocked for their sakes. Their weddings however, are Ferraris driven like a bloody fiat, and here is why.
Most love to dance. Most can shake a leg, bend a bone or better still, jive to a beat. They are a seamless lot when it comes to swaying to rhythm, ample creatures they are, but also, half as lithe as baby pythons. Their weddings however are a dull affair when it comes to showcasing their traditional culture or the prowess of their bodily features and I have attended a fair share of Kisii weddings to tell them that that old geezer from the village plucking on some tacky looking battered stringed instrument with wonky strings in the name of creating music should be shot on site. He is a poorly packaged atrocity.
In a Kisii wedding, there is always some gaffer, or some senseless chap playing that darned thing. You can’t mic it because it is averse to sense and technology and so someone has to hold a microphone over the bloody thing, and we have to listen to its woeful, mournful, discordant tunes as masses pretend they are having the time of their lives because we are in a way, tasteless morons. I’d rather not. I would be better off listening to the harmony from strangled kittens or castrated dogs than end up in another Kisii wedding and hear that cat torturing that instrument. The instrument doesn’t have many strings and so variety here is a bit of a fallacy. The notes sound low and dull because it is made from the skin of a miserable cow. It is like listening to a tone-deaf bass make an attempt at a solo, it grates your eardrums, and breaks your spirit. There is no finesse with playing this instrument but I am guessing most of the chaps from the hilly region either have a poor taste in music which doesn’t make sense because Nyashinsky and Nyang’ara are Kisii and they can fucking tell one chord from another, all except married Kisii couples. The start normally sets the tone and if it truly does, I can tell you ladies and gentlemen that all Kisii marriages in which that old man showed up to play that blasted thing are a volatile affair. Its more or less like having Judas Iscariot officiate your vows or task Zaccheus to be in charge of the gift registry.
Kisii women should all be Arsenal fans because they can live with disappointments. They do it so well you would perceive that they enjoy it. They dance to that malaise like its music from the pied piper and them a sorry lot of kids from a town that doesn’t know how to pay its musicians. They shake their deliverables to those discordant tunes you would think they are broken souls and nothing could break them further.
The men hardly dance. Hardly. Perhaps they, like all men, understand the value of silence when it comes to pointing out the mistakes of the daughters of Eve. No man loves mission impossibleS ( even Tom Cruise does it on a movie set) except if it is to be crooned by Sanaipei Tande. And so Kisii men will sit on the sidelines during their weddings and act unafflicted while their women and the pied stringer wreak havoc on audiences which left peaceful homes to plunge themselves into an asylum of tone deaf degenerates with a poor appreciation of good music and dance.
They should borrow a leaf from the chaps in Kakamega. Luhnjez dance over every darned thing on the planet. Every occasion is a moment to shake a bone, break a leg, neck, everything until solid turns to melt and sway breaks to sweat. They are boneless gyrators these one and in a manner of speaking with a well-stocked armory of tunes you can jive to. On these sides , people jive to everything. Your cat is pregnant, we dance, you chicken hatched, we slaughter it, your mom died, we dance, your sister is getting married we dance, you lost your old man, we throw down a party befitting a fallen king, your wife is knocked up, we drink first and dance for two, the wife and the unborn child, if you spill milk, we cry and then beat you up but whatever happens if you hail from this sides, dance is the rhythm of our souls and the beat always goes on.
Look at Sauti Sol.
Isukuti players are my favourite lot. Before a dance, you will get them at a changaa den because these parties are a lit up affair and also largely because man cannot live on bread alone, he needs a drink. They will be soaking up and warming their throats, stocking fire to their veins, steel to their spine, fuel to their bones. They will be adding current to their fingers because the drums need to be beaten with the vehemence and ferocity of mob dispensing justice to a motorcycle thief. These bastards will drink to simply add spring to their step because their dances are hardly ever a fiesta for dullards.
The dances are a platform for let loose and throw fucks to the tunes. The lines are coarse and lewd, nothing palatable for a do gooder or any ardent follower of the robe donning Hebrew lad. The moves are fast and upbeat, shoulder twists and swivels, hip thrusts in all its manner and variations, legs shakes like a neutered puppy and of course the sing alongs- we know each dirty line word for word and we don’t care. We will sing about deflowering your sister in front of your mother and you will cheer us on because we do it with so much gusto that we are nothing short of a dazzling frenzied spectacle. Surprise eeey?
There is no party in Luhya land that is not sprayed with a tincture of madness, we are a market place in Bunyore land- madness reigns. We are all madmen and women in search of a good time and maybe you shouldn’t frown on us. Frown on them Kisii lot. They bring an acoustic guitar to a Gengetone session and expect the rest of the country to blindly cheer them on because the CS for interior security is their lot, what are they smoking?
Here is to a party of drums and beats and that clanging metallic ring. Here is to fast cars driven on racecourse tracks. Here is to all or nothing. And here is to dancing to a tune with the intensity of a headless chicken on its last dance.
Photo by Matthew Spiteri on Unsplash