African music and dance reflect this primeval and embryonic attribute, throbbing with the primal beat of indigenous drugs and instruments, accompanied by communal rhythmic stomping and gyration. The performing arts play a vital role as a common language in a land mass populated by more than 2,000 tribes that speak anywhere between 800 and 2,400 dialects and languages (Rockwell, 1981).
More than provide a means by which different tribes commune, the earthy candor and unapologetic directness of African music and dance make them both somber and inspiring. Nelson Mandela aptly said, ‘The curious beauty of African music is that it uplifts even as it tells a sad tale. You may be poor, you may have only a ramshackle house, you may have lost your job, but that song gives you hope…’(Lincoln, 2010). One is drawn to contemplate on the ‘negro spirituals’ that may use a language different from native African music, but which convey the same message of hope in the face of adversity.