Silakoro - Under African Skies


The road to Silakoro was a muddy path only navigable by foot or a strong Landcruiser, one like I had. The countryside was lush and green and between the rolling hills were small villages all of them consisting of about 10 or 20 round houses with thatched roofs. Silakoro was one of them. When I arrived the village was in preparation of the arrival of a mask dancer. The Dan people living in Liberia and Côte d´Ivoire had a very strong tradition of masked silt dances accompanied by singing and drumming. I took my seat with the eldest of the village and women in white clothes started to dance around a single drummer. It was the start of the ceremony and more people gathered around the village square. Older women gave the rhythm by loud clapping and the stilt mask arrived. The dancer was about 2 meters above the floor and he started to whirl holding incredibly his balance. The crowd got mad and the villagers also started to whirl and everybody seemed to get into trance. At the climax another masked arrived, wearing a heavy coat and dancing very slow. This mask represented a kind of shaman, who broke the restlessness of the dancing before. The night had already arrived and the shade of the dancing masks in the moonlight, the drumming and singing of the villagers filled the air. Already some hours have passed with the blink of an eye, under African Skies.