Bari in South Sudan

Photo Source:  RJ Tidwell 
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Bari
Country: South Sudan
10/40 Window: No
Population: 684,000
World Population: 854,100
Primary Language: Bari
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 95.00 %
Evangelicals: 7.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Nilotic
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Nyepo (sing. Nyepotot) are a music loving people as a characteristic of all human beings. Their traditional dance is full of styles and song lyrics. Their songs cover historical events, love, lamentation, praise, education, religion etc. The wore (dancing field, pronounced as wohreh) is frequently visited during the dry season as it is a taboo to organize for a dance during the rainy season. This is because it would interrupt people from cultivation. Once the drum is hit during the rainy season, it would postpone the rain till the breacher is identified and punished. The time for dance is always welcomed by everyone since it is the opportunity for the youth to learn new things - how to approach ladies for future wives, how to beat the drum, how to dance, how to sing and how to associate with non-family members. The dance is also necessary to keep the tribe together. The dance is always danced at night and throughout the night. When the youth are over excited, they may dance for a week consecutively. Boys who are interested to learn how to beat the drum can do so at the evening times of the dry season since the night time is not allowed for learning.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Nyepo band consists of the löri ngote (mother drum), kengere (open ended drum) and the kikili or kikililö in plural (small drum) which are sometimes two in number and hit by one person altogether and the gwele (metallic gongs), gwirya (rattles) and toryo (horns). The Nyepo generally have four types of dances based on specific occasion - feasts, wedding, funerals, victory over an enemy or disease or plentiful harvest. Namely, Kore, bula, tibidi and nyale. A brief explanation for such types of dance is provided below. The Kore consists of several dance divisions that are associated with different situations. 1. Kil 'di: This is a war dance. It gives the fighters the moral and vigor needed in a successful fight. This can be compared to the rock and blue genre in modern music. 2. Kisonde: This is a dance of praise especially in honor of a hero after war or in honor of a lover. This is where one shows off styles and skills of dance. 3. Lominimini: This is a competitive dance. It tells who is the most energetic dancer. This is judged from whether a person is able to endure the dance for long or whether the dancer is able to jump the highest. One may win a mate for being envied by several persons of the opposite sex. 4. Ryoket: This is a slow dance whose purpose is to boost energy of the dancers after dancing for a long time before dawn. 5. Gwele: As its name suggests, this dance happens after a group of youth contributes food items to be eaten together and results in a dance bearing the name gwele (contribution). In this dance, people usually dance it at day time (dawn or dusk) because it involves scoring of goals. BULA This is a dance that is danced without any drum but with hand clubs and singing. It is usually danced during child naming ceremonies. Excited kids may initiate it but latter may explode into a great dance. TIBIDI This and the Bula are the dances that tell the Nyepo from the other Bari speaking tribes. It is mostly danced during funerals. NYALE This was practiced during the early years of the Nyepo as a tribe. As of current, it is not longer practiced. The Kore is a name that is given to difference dance types according to the tribe one belongs. The correct meaning is chore. This Nyepo dance was inheritted from the Bari. The Nyepo can easily combine with the Bari and dance together as if they are one tribe. the name bula may be shared by other tribes but the dances can never be the same.

Text Source:   Anonymous