Oroko Music and Folklore

The Artistry of the Oroko dance. An Overview

By:  Nambangi Justin Okolle.

The OROKO Dance consists of two groups of entertainers (i) those who play the instruments/drums (drummers) and (ii) the dancers. The drums are of different sizes including a larger base-drum that controls the rhythm of the dance. Sounds from instruments and dancers are similar to those found in R&B, JAMS, Rap music, hiphops etc.

 There are different types or forms of the OROKO Dance (Denyangi, Ngoba, Njoku etc), and certain characteristics that make the dance generally unique: It is simple and easy to learn, it involves much shaking of the back, shoulders and hands, loin cloths must be tied around the waist, dancers also mask or paint their bodies with different colors and it is a dance with slow-to-fast rhythms.

 Although the dance is simple and easy to learn, like the hiphops, Krumpin and Poppin etc. of the USA, rehearsals are a must and dancers need to be focused, determined and above all make it fun. The excitement and fun of the OROKO Dance is based on the back, shoulder and hand-shaking.

 Often, rhythm of the dance starts slowly and after a while reaches a climax.  Again, like hiphops, Reggae and the likes, during such a climax, the dancers tend to bend downwards and increase the frequency of back, shoulder and hand-shaking.

 In the “Njoku” dance, dancers mimic the structure of an elephant and its behavior.  At its climax, dancers also display some Krumpin and Poppin patterns. From the above description, there is no doubt that present day hi pops, Krumpin, Poppin, R&B, and Clown Dances have much in common with the OROKO Dance or might be using such African traditional dances as their models or inspirations. It should also be noted that the OROKO Dance has often been at the top of competitions in Cameroon. For example, the dance represented Christ The King College (CKC) during the U S ambassador’s visit to Tiko. (see Picture on left side ) It also won the first prize during the all Catholic Colleges’ competition in Kumba as well among the top three traditional dances in the prestigious University of Buea, Cameroon.