The 'Alanta' Dance - An Evil Ritual or Ignorant Concpetion?


Please do not read this post if you’re a FAITHFUL fan of the group Artquake and if you don’t believe in the existence of the supernatural! You might be offended.


I’ve heard the song on radio and I was not all trippy about it, and that was mainly because I felt it was just another pointless song just urging people to dance to a new style that was equally the title of the song.

It was not until I got to see the video that I made up my mind that this song was a suspicious lot. With visuals on display and lyrics following the rhythm and my mind all set for serious scrutiny, I was able to see and hear more than just meets the eye and ears.

The song is ‘Alanta’ from the Nigerian duo known as Artquake. ‘Alanta’ refers to a dance style which I can’t be sure if Artquake are the actual originators. 


The dance style has to do with a patterned movement of the hands in which it looks like you’re fanning flames around you. Actually I wouldn’t have described it like this; not until I heard a part of the lyrics which sort of explained the movement sequence.


E be like fire, dey burn my body

Je kin fera, oru n mu mi


Translated this means:


It looks like fire is burning my body

Let me fan myself, I’m feeling hot


As a result you get to see shots of people doing the dance in frenzy with either trance-like or painful expressions on their faces.

There’s a particular lady who we see in a red outfit and at another time in black dinner gown seriously strutting the dance like she was some voodoo high priestess. She happens to be the most extreme about it.

In some scenes she wears scary expressions which you may not see because the scene quickly cuts away before it registers. Her eyes where painfully closed and she looked possessed.


And if all these quick passing scenes don’t register suspiciously with you, wait till you get to the church scene. This was the one that topped them all.

We see a pastor trying to cast out a demon from a lady (who happens to be our high priestess). The lady is dancing the ‘Alanta’ dance in a manner that reminds you of a scene from the exorcist, her hair hung down like some undead creature from a horror flick.


The pastor tries to cast out the demon but instead is suddenly possessed by it and starts the ‘Alanta’ dance with the same tranced expression on his face.


Someone was either downright ignorant about what he was doing when putting the song or video idea together, or he was just following some nasty evil instinct because the message this video eventually passes across is nothing but negative coupled with fact that its making blasphemic suggestions.

I don’t believe in the philosophy that what you don’t know can’t kill you. Actually, it’s the act of not knowing that can kill. Ever seen those horror flicks where somebody accidentally awakes a demon or creature or invokes a spell by accident or out of ignorance? If you do then you know what I'm getting at.

Let’s hope we’re not invoking curses on ourselves each time we hear this song and move in ritualistic ‘Alanta’ fashion to its beat. 

29 Screamer(s):

Enkay said...

Wow Kush, you real took your time analysing this song.

I know it may sound strange but I have neither heard this song nor watched the video so I can't really relate.

Maybe I should watch out for it?

I don't know how we came by that "What you don't know cannot kill you" crap. It just ain't true!

HYAW said...

i was brought up to uphold the godly and condemn the devilish. i still do that anyway, but recently, against my parents advice, i went for this burial ceremony, where the dead man was allegedly a cultist, their was no church or pastor around and everything was done the traditional way. everyone agreed it was evil, but i still couldn't help enjoying and admiring the rich African culture which unfortunately is fading very fast. i haven't watched this video anyway, but right now i am really confused where to draw the line between culture and devilish. Anyway, i believe that what you do not believe in, cannot harm you

Anonymous said...

ive never heard the song or watched the really took your time to analyze the video.
i really dont know what to say...t each his own i guess.

Dee! said...

A critical analysis. I have heard the song but I have not seen the video. However, from your analysis, I'd say the church scene is not necessary.

May the Almighty be with us!

Tigeress said...

Very good analysis. Havent heard the song before but dont think i like. The skanky walk is bad enof talk less this.

jhazmyn said...

Hmm, i think we are quite a bunch that haven't heard the song much less seen the video..I'd come bak n comment after i see or hear it.

BTW, how are baby n mum doing?

Fabulo-la said...

Its like my mum always said, we really should be careful about what we feed our spirit.

Olówó said...

It might be occult and it may not be. However, don't you ever mourn the loss of huge parts of our individual cultures to "christianity". These Oyinbos came, told us our gods belonged to the devil and we are demon worshippers when they smoothly melded the worship of their own traditional gods with christianity. Do you celebrate christmas on Dec 25th? You do know that it's Jesus' birthday but it's originally a roman pagan celebration day.

I know I'm rambling but my point is that we should not let kolo-mentality make us look at aspects of our culture as just terrible. Like HYAW, why can't we appreciate these rich cultural aspects without necessarily condemning them.

BSNC said...

lol you really analysed this song sha... I have heard about the song, but i have not really listened to it talkless of watch the video..

LG said...

alanta alanta one leg up :P

tobenna said...

alanta, alanta two legs up :P

Rose said...

I have listened to the song.
One gets so carried away with it's rythmn that there is hardly any time to unearth its possibly sinister meaning.
Never watched the video though..

Slightly disturbing pictures I must say...:-)

Afronuts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Afronuts said...

Sorry I forgot to include a link to the actual video. You can click here
to view it.

@Enkay…True talk enkay. You took the words out of my mind.

@Hyaw…well said bro. But what you believe is different from what you know. You can know and still not believe. They are two different things. Besides, I’m not against culture, it’s the bad parts that are questionable that one should be wary of.

@leggy…well you can check the link I just added in this comment.

@Dee!...Thanks dee. You can view the video from the link above and have ur own take.

@Jhazmyn…Thanks. Mum and baby are doing very fine. I’ve added the link to the video in this comment.

@Olowo….Hmm…actually I never said or rejected anything about culture in this video. It entirely has nothing to do with culture. And I think Christianity is a good thing to have come to Africa. We should just remember that every good thing has a bad version.

@BSNC…well sis…you can click the link in this comment above and view it.

@LG…I no say na yeye you just tanda do there. The day u go serious, I go kill two cows celebrate.

@tobenna…lol. Lack of what to say shey? No prob, just copy LG.

@Rose…I’ve got the link to the video on this comment. You can view it. Those pictures pass by so quickly, you may not notice.

lol @ LG! Boy oh boy, never heard this take on Alanta before sha. I'm pretty sure I have seen the vid as well...

oh well.

Dr. Otefe said...

I haven't seen the video before this write-up...your analysis got me thinking. My take is if you do this dance unto God then it becomes sanctified just like Christmas it was a pagan Roman feast but we celebrate it unto God.
@ Olowo...Christianity is not solely an imported religion...the bible is filled with various characters from Africa related to some world changers in the Bible. A christian is one who is Christ-like who was a Jew not even an oyinbo's a relationship not just a "culture".

BTW...thanks Afronuts for stopping by my blog.

Myne Whitman said...

Wow, the way you analysed the video is scary, I'm going tover to youtube to see it. I guess in everything we have to be careful.

I haven't heard the song, nor watched the video. Like I always tell my youger brother - thankfully He has seen the light. Something is either good or evil.. there is no in between.

I don't understand why one will be singing fire is buring and immitating being in hell, as the video shows. What is confessed with the mouth will most eventually be. So what they getting ready for hell fire?

Tradition is what man does when there is no understanding of the word of God. If we look through the Bible, the children of Isreal, always got into trouble with God, when they eased back into their human and earthly tradition, when they strayed from God's laws.

One draws the line by asking a simple question.. "Does this action that I am carrying out edify God or evil"... our spirit will eventually be or won't be a witness.

Well done for analysing this..I think in the midst of our people trying to 'big up' the music culture, at the same time they seem to be making the play ground for the devil and his demons. All one needs to do is listen to the lyrics of some of their songs, and you open your mouth and scratch your head in wonder! It's all about covetousness, chasing after anothe man's wife, girlfriend, getting quick hit money, spending it on yet more girls or vice versa!

"my people die from lack of knowledge" it is the NOT knowing, THE LACK OF KNOWLEGE.. as you rightly said that kills the soul and sends it on a fast courseto hell! God help us, more so the future generation. Have a great weekend... much luv

black007 said...

Kush...whats up? Long time!

Make I o see the video before I comment.

Nefertiti said...

I went to go see the video before reading the comments. The hint is VERY subtle. It really didn't hit me as them crossing the line until the scene where the pastor seemingly is possessed by the 'Alanta spirit'. Weird concept I must say. We really need to ease out, this generation of ours, before we wreck ourselves. It was my first time hearing the song or seeing the video.

Olufunke said...

I have not seen the video and I have not heard the song either.
I would watch out for it.

Afro nuts, you really did a lot of analysis on this video.

I also agree with you that 'what you don't know CAN kill you!!
Even in the law, ignorance is not an excuse, and the bible too says that 'people die because of lack of knowledge'
God help us o!

Nice one.

Anonymous said...

I looooovee this song. Nice beat. Good lyrics. Nigerians can dance no be small.

Afronuts said...

@Solomonsydelle….check it out and u’ll see.

@Dr. Otefe….well said Doc. Thanks for the further explanation for Olowo

@Myne Whitman….We really have to be. Strange things are happening.

@Remi UK….Thanks for this highly enlightemning comment my sister. Very well said!

@Black 007…where on earth have u been bro? U scarce oh!

@Nefertiti….U’re right. Time to sound the warning signals.

@Olufunke….Thanks funke. Like Tupac said one time…we don’t need any more entertainers, we need more thinkers

@Lucidlilith….LOL! Sweetheart did you read the post at all?

Parakeet said... a liberalist and sometimes I wonder if that's not the fastest way to hell fire sometimes...hehehe.

But more seriously I have seen things. I grew up in Benin where African traditional religion was practised by a lot of families. You hear the chanting and the songs and you see the dancing which can be quite powerful and moving. They become taken over by this and starts to act really weird. Sometimes the spirit takes them over and they run all over the neighbourhood.

Then I became a catholic and everything was solemn. No engagement no nothing. Then I started to go to a pentecostal church and it was more interesting. The speaking in tongues, the singing and many a times my mind goes back to the orisa worshippers in Benin. If there's any difference in the two then it's very blurred. But they say it is the holy spirit making you throw urself against the wall and acting like you're in trance.

As someone who likes to go clubbing too sometimes you get into the dance routine and you get taken over completely. Almost delirious.

For people who smoke weed and use drugs they've confirmed that the high feeling is similar to this state. What point am I trying to make here? I am saying it is possible to feel like the dancers in this video without having to listen to 'devilish' music. However what makes one 'devilish' and the other not is whatever the causal factor is.

I'm not sure I've heard the song which I find quite suprising but from wot you wrote here I do not like the lyrics of the song and it will certainly pose a problem from good practising Christians. As for the dance, to me a dance is a dance and it's a form of expression. I dont have anything against it. It's a form of excapism and if it works for some, good for them. For the part in the video with pastor being engulfed by the spirit of the song or as it were Alanta, I can only see this as a literary licence and nothing at all blasphemous about it. Truth be told whoever is exorcising a demon should be equal to the task otherwise the demon will take

Anyway na so I see am.

ScoopsNija said...

Oga Kush...I've watched the video. I'm actually disappointed. There's something so lackluster about the dance routines. It's not as bad as I thot it'd be but I certainly hate the lyrics about fire burning someone's body.


Afronuts said...

@Parakeet...I understand ur point dear and you actually made some valid ones. But lets just say this is what u know so far. How about an update? You'll be shocked what u thot u knew after u've searched for the truth.
I used to think I knew a lot until I discovered that I didn't know enough and that there was more to it that met my eyes and my ears.

@ScoopsNaija...are you the same person as Parakeet? Good thing u watched it to understand what I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

LWKMD! the alanta dance is from people trying to kill mosquitoes on their body that are biting them!? leave God and voodoo out of it.its just a way of expressing themselves in the hood. watch funmi iyandas my country my life where the dancers in ajegunle explain it!?

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