Boys' Dodo Masquerade

Boys' Dodo Masquerade

Full moon of Islamic month of Ramadan
A children's entertainment introduced by Muslim Hausa traders during the mid-19th century, the Dodo Masquerade performed in Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), has changed considerably over the years, and now reflects the local largely non-Muslim Mossi culture. As the Ramadan season approaches, boys between the ages of 12 and 16 form groups consisting of a principal singer, a chorus, five or more dancers, a drummer, a few costumed wild animals based on local folklore, and a leader who dresses in military style. The boys decide on their roles and dance steps, which are usually variations on a dozen well-known patterns. Each dancer wears knee bells made from tin can tops and carries two sticks decorated by painting or peeling the bark away in special patterns.
On the night of the full moon during the Islamic month of Ramadan, the boys in their masks and costumes perform their dance for each household or compound while the chorus sings. Younger boys (seven to 12 years of age) started forming their own "Petit Dodo" groups and by the mid-1950s, little boys were dancing Dodo in many Mossi villages.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of Burkina Faso
2340 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-332-5577; fax: 202-667-1882
www.burkinaembassy-usa.org
SOURCES:
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 669