for Venda Tshigombela dance transcribed from the performance of the Konanani Venda group by Lwei Netshivhale

Here we come, we are here to represent Konanani Tshigombela group.

Please open for us as we enter.

Tshigombela is a Venda cultural dance using traditional music and is specifically performed by women. It is a choreographed dance which is performed while wearing a cultural uniform. This music style is known for advocating women’s voices in the Venda community. The music is also used to promote peace, prosperity, success and unity in the Venda community. Tshigombela performances are often arranged for Kings and Chief’s special occasions and traditional competitions.

The form is structured in three or four different sections per performance. Section 1 is the entrance with normal dance steps; section 2 is the repetition of the first section with over-emphasised dance steps; section 3 contains the virtuosic dance steps of the Tshigombela that forms the core of the dance and these steps are unique for each piece of music. Section 4, which is called Ugaya is not compulsory, as it portrays a special choreography, which is not done by everyone in the group, but is performed by a few members in pairs.

Tshigombela performance involves three traditional drums, namely: (Murumba 1, Murumba 2 and Dumbula, which is the big drum for playing straight rhythm). In this particular performance on which the transcription is based the part called “improvising voices and other sounds” shows a once-off performance style, but every performance is different and can be quite random.

Text by: Dr Evans Netshivhambe

Notes: in Tshigombela performances, multiple competitors or other groups would normally use “Riyadzhena” as an introduction or entry song.