Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Klag Dance & Other Traditional Mbaye Dances (Chad, Africa)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases two videos of the Klag (Klague) dances and several other dances that are traditional to the Mbaye ethnic group of Chad, Central Africa.

Information about Chad is also included in this post along with information about the Sara group (the Mbaye ethnic group is a sub-set of the Saras).

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos and thanks to Communauté Mbaye, the publisher of these videos on YouTube.

"Chad ... is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest and Niger to the west. It is the fifth largest country in Africa in terms of area.

Chad has several regions: a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanian Savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second-largest in Africa. The capital N'Djamena is the largest city.

Chad's official languages are Arabic and French. Chad is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. The religions of Chad are Islam (at 55%), followed by Christianity (at 40%)...

Chad has more than 200 distinct ethnic groups,[58] which create diverse social structures. The colonial administration and independent governments have attempted to impose a national society, but for most Chadians the local or regional society remains the most important influence outside the immediate family. Nevertheless, Chad's peoples may be classified according to the geographical region in which they live.[7][36]

In the south live sedentary people such as the Sara, the nation's main ethnic group, whose essential social unit is the lineage. In the Sahel sedentary peoples live side-by-side with nomadic ones, such as the Arabs, the country's second major ethnic group. The north is inhabited by nomads, mostly Toubous."...

..."In Chad

The Sara (kameeni), descendants of the Sao, are the largest ethnic group in Chad. Located in the south, especially in the Moyen-Chari, Logone Oriental, Logone Occidental, and parts of the Tandjile regions, they are Nilotic people (or from the Nile) who are believed to have migrated westwards to the Chad during the sixteenth century, as they sought refuge in the south against northern Muslim slave raiders.[8] After their arrival, they continued to be the subject of violent slave raids by northern Fulani and Arabic people.[5][6][7]....

Most Sara are Animist in their religion. They are agriculturalists, forming the backbone of the modern Chadian economy, producing cotton, rice, peanuts, corn, millet, sorghum, and cassava. They live in south Chad, the most well-watered part of the country, thus the most agriculturally productive part.

The Sara is a patrilineal ethnic group. Its people speak a Nilo-Sudanic language and form some twelve tribes or clans, including the Ngambaye, the Mbaye, the Goulay, the Madjingaye, the Kaba, the Sara-Kaba, the Niellim, the Nar, the Dai and Ngama.

The Sara people enthusiastically grasped the meagre educational and religious opportunities offered by the French. Educated Sara people are fluent in French as a second language today. In the 1970s, François Tombalbaye, the first President of Chad and of Sara origins, introduced an Africanization aim: the yondo initiation rites of the Sara-- for all those who wanted to obtain positions in the civil service and the army."

Example #1: Danse Klag à Dilingala (Tchad)

Communauté Mbaye, Published on Apr 27, 2014

Le klag est la danse Mbaye la plus connue.

Google translate from French to English;
The klag is the best-known Mbaye dance.

Example #2: Danses Mbaye

Communauté Mbaye Published on Jan 16, 2016

Une vidéo de danses mbaye (groupe ethnique sara du sud du Tchad): klag, bang, lab, samagoï, ndo bessi.

Le klag (ou klagué) est la danse mbaye la plus connue et la plus représentative de la culture mbaye. Il est incontournable dans les réjouissances tant en pays mbaye (Moïssala) que dans la diaspora.

Le bang se danse essentiellement dans les campagnes, où il est la principale danse des clairs de lune. Il se décline en plusieurs variantes comme le démo ou le dourba.

Le samagoï se danse rarement, même dans les villages mbaye.

Le lab est une ancienne danse de la fertilité exécutée en temps de sécheresse pour faire tomber la pluie. Il est de nos jours essentiellement folklorique. Avec les hommes-lions, les lab sont les principales attractions des grandes festivités officielles en milieu mbaye. Cette danse est une spécialité du canton Dembo. Les danseurs, le visage peint, deux (2) plumes sur la tête, le corps enduit d'huile, un pagne attaché autour des reins et une louche à la main, exécutent de brusques mouvements d'épaules sur des cadences saccadées.

Le ndo bessi est la danse de l'initiation masculine éponyme. C'est la danse des garçons initiés entrant dans l'âge adulte. Il est rarement dansé par les profanes.

Google translate from French to English:

A video of dances mbaye (ethnic group sara of the south of Chad): klag, bang, lab, samagoï, ndo bessi.

The klag (or klagué) is the most well-known mbaye dance and the most representative of mbaye culture. It is unavoidable in the rejoicings both in Mbaye country (Moïssala) and in the diaspora.

The bang is mainly danced in the countryside, where it is the main dance of the moonlight. It comes in several variants like demo or dourba.

Samagoï dances rarely, even in mbaye villages.

The lab is an ancient dance of fertility performed in times of drought to bring down the rain. It is nowadays essentially folkloric. With the lion-men, lab are the main attractions of the great official festivities in mbaye. This dance is a specialty of the Dembo Township. The dancers, the painted face, two feathers on their heads, their bodies covered with oil, a loincloth tied round their loins, and a ladle in their hands, executed sudden movements of shoulders on jerky cadences.

The ndo bessi is the dance of the eponymous masculine initiation. It is the dance of the initiated boys entering adulthood. It is rarely danced by the layman.


album : Music Of Chad

"Klague: Dance of Moissala"
Dancers in M'Baye FW04337_106
"Moïssala is the capital of Barh Sara, one of the departments of the Mandoul Region in southern Chad."

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  1. this doesn't help me sorry but pretty good research

    1. Thanks for your comment, Anonymous.

      I'm sorry that this post didn't help you.

      I'd also love to have more information about this dance. :o(