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The origin of Ikpingi dance in Tivland


By Comr. Joseph Ahundu

Abua Tortya from Mbakunde Mbakaange in the then Vandeikya division was a business man and a dancer became well known for his brand of Tiv traditional music called Gbange.

Gbange(Xylophone) was a band and a brand of music that reigned between 1817s to 1950s. The musical instrument used were chiefly gbange and Akya (pipe).


It was in this family that Solomon Doki, the king of Kpingi exponent of swange music was born April 14th 1946.


Solomon Doki popularly called by his father’s name Abua was a business man like his father. Although the legendary Abua attended only primary two between 1950 and 1952, he was highly intelligent and well talented in music. He traveled to many cities and countries few of which include Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.


At last, he settled at Kano city and subsequently started coming in contact with Swange music under Orshio.


Abua joined Orshio Ada Kever Swange Band in 1972 and having already got some dancing skills from his father, he was able to learn fast.


Orshio band had only one official dancer who was Shachia Yughur (Ornorkeghakegh), so Abua brought in two girls to Orshio band and through the girls more attraction was dragged to the team.

The first Kpingi girl was Mbapuun Kpojime. Abua brought in Gbagir Asawa and Juliana Jam in 1973, trained them extensively on Kirzongu dancing.


In 1974, Major Adingi then a military captain bought western musical instruments for Abua and he seperated from Orshio and started his music as Kirzongu in 1974 but later in February 14th in 1975 changed it to KPINGI.


Abua met with the founders of Cameroon Makossa Les tete and Emmanuel Manu Dibango in the late 1960s and became the founder of Kpingi dance of the Tiv tribe of Nigeria in 1974.


Kpingi is a form of dance characterized essentially by fancifully shaking of buttocks in a naturally organized manner. Abua’s contact with the founders of Makossa music spurred his interest in the form of music. Cameroon makossa is Nigerian Kpingi of Tiv Origin in Benue state.


Due to the popularity and dexterity of Abua in Kpingi swange music, he was awarded with the title of KING ONE ABUA by students of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1975.


The legend had innumerable fans strong supporters, dignitaries and well wishers like then captain Adingi, Sen JS Tarka, Paul Unongo, David Wuan Gambe Dajo and others. In that way Chief Akume At on go in 1979 donated a car to Abua and his band.


while Fela kuti,Abua’s close friend was shaking the western Nigeria, Abua raided Northern Nigeria with his Kpingi music and had more fans than any other swange musician. He took over traditional music industry and reigned for a decade between 1974 and 1984.


In 1974, Abua band was made of Solomon Doki, Samuel Amase, Samuel Garba Attack Kyuve, Tony Azembe, Ature Hôn, William Jirbo, Asor Yese and female dancers Gbagir Asawa and Juliana Jam.
Abua kpingi band was known as Abua Young Stars and was the first Kpingi band in Tivland.

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