SInging Wells Project – Rift Valley/ Trans Nzoia Chapter

By Stefano Sita Nne

It’s that time again!
Once again we are heading out to another Singing Wells excursion, this time to Rift Valley and Trans Nzoia.

www.singing wells.com

Together with our partners Abubilla Music (www.abubillamusic.com), we will spend a total of 6 days in the field recording music of the Kalenjin.

The Kalenjin community belongs to the Nilotic ethnic group. These highland Nilotes include eight culturally and linguistically related groups or tribes, namely Kipsigis, Nandi, Tugen, Marakwet, Keiyo, Pokot, Sabaot and Terik. The Kalenjin languages spoken by these groups include the Keyo (Keiyo), Cherangany, Tugen, Nandi and Kipsigis (Kipsikiis, Kipsikis) languages (excerpt from www.kenya-information-guide.com).

The SWP Rift Valley chapter kicked off on the 2nd of March with the arrival of Jimmy, Kathy and Hunter from London. Kathy joins us for the first time as an observer from the Abubilla Music Foundation, who have been supporting the Singing WElls Project from it’s inception. Hunter is also a new member to the SWP team, and he joins our video section as Camera Op 03.

Also new to the project is guitarist extraodimaire Eddie Grey. Eddie who justy recently released his sophomore album titled Stories by The Lake, will feature as the influences artist.

THe itinerary for this trip wil see us ariving in Kitale on the 4th of March. With Kitale as the Hq for the first 2days, we will travel to Mt Elgon and Kapenguria focusing on the Sabaot and the Pokot.

On the 7th of March we will head out to Iten and Kapsowar to record the Marakwet and the Keiyo with Eldoret as our Hq.

The 8th of March, our final day of recording, will see us travel to Baringo to record the music of the Tugen, before finally heading back to Nairobi on the 9th of March.

This won’t be the end of the project just yet. During the excursion, we will identify singers and performers from the regions visited and bring them back with us to Ketebul Music studios in Nairobi. We will record these artists for our influences sessions over the weekend of the 10th and 11th.

Stay tuned for more updates on the SWP Rift Valley/ Trans Nzoia Chapter. You can also visit FIELD REPORTS on Singing Wells websites for more updates, videos and soundbites from the field.


Ogoya Nengo: Sauti za Busara 2012 Summary

By Stefano Sita Nne
After a week of rehearsal at Alliance Francaise with her 8 piece band, Ogoya Nengo finally jetted into Zanzibar on the 9th of February. Despite the high temperatures that they were not accustomed to, the group was in high spirits rearing to get on stage and give a dose of Dodo and Ohangla Music.

The following morning, the group which comprised of Ogoya Nengo on lead vocals, Olith Ratego, Margaret Ondiege Asin and Wilfrida Anyango on support vocals, Joseph Oloo aka Maumbo on ohangla, Boaz Aketch on Orutu, George Achieng’ on drums, Tobias Onyango on traditional drums and Joseph Ojung’a on the oporo (horn), were up bright and early and ready for their scheduled soundcheck at Ngome Kongwe (the Old Fort) in Stonetown, the venue of Sauti za Busara Festival 2012.

Fast forward to showtime later that evening at 8.20pm, Ogoya Nengo’s powerful vocals reverberated accross the fort’s walls, to the delight and applause from the crowd after each and every song.

Ogoya Nengo and Olith ratego on stage at Ngome Kongwe

At one point, Camirata Group from Northern Sudan who had peformed the previous night, were so impressed by Ogoya Nengo’s performance that they jumped on stage and danced along with Ogoya Nengo.

At the end of her set, Ogoya walked off the stage to another roar of applause from the audience.

Ogoya Nengo and Olith Ratego backstage after their performance

Ogoya Nengo had a day to explore and discover Zanzibar before taking her flight back to Nairobi on the 12th of February.

Featured photos courtesy Ketebul Music

Ogoya Nengo belting out a tune at Ngome Kongwe

Ogoya Nengo For Sauti za Busara Festival

By Stefano

Ogoya Nengo, the matriach of Ketebul Music will be gracing the stage at Ngome Kongwe in Stone Town, Zanzibar during the Sauti za Busara Festival.

Ogoya Nengo - The Dodo Queen

Ogoya who is no stranger to performing at international stages will be taking the stage on the 10th of February accompanied by her long time collaborators Margaret Asin, Wilfrida Owit and Olith Ratego and a 6piece band which will include famed kenge Kenge orutu player, George Achieng’ and Ohangla drum maestro Maumbo.

Magaret Asin, Ogoya Nengo and Maombo

George Achieng' (far right) on orutu

Maombo, the Ohangla drum and percussions maestro

She will perform and showcase music from her debut studio CD titled Matatu, which features songs done in the dodo style from the lake region of Kenya.

You can catch up with Ogoya and her band on the 10th of February from 8.20pm.

Ogoya Nengo - The Priced One

Mulatu Astatke: Ethio-Kenyan Fusion @ Ketebul Music

By Stefano Sita Nne
The past week proved to be an event filled one for us at Ketebul Music. We had the pleasure and honor to host one of Africa’s living music legends: Mulatu Astatke.

Mulatu Astatke is an Ethiopian jazz musician, who is credited as being the father and founder of Ethio – Jazz. He was the first African to be admitted to Berkley College of Music. In the early 1970s, Astatke brought his new sound, which he called Ethio-jazz, back to his homeland. while continuing to work in the US. He collaborated with many notable artists in both countries, arranging and playing on recordings by Mahmoud Ahmed, and appearing as a special guest with Duke Ellington and his band during a tour of Ethiopia in 1973 (Quoted from Wikipedia).

Following a meeting with Ketebul Music’s Executive Director, Tabu Osusa in Johannesburg late last year, Mulatu visited Ketebul Music studios last week and spent time recording material for his upcoming project.

Mulatu Astatke and Tabu Osusa at Ketebul Music Studios

Mulatu spent the time recording and arranging music with the latest addition to the Ketebul Music family, Eddie Grey. This was a collaborative effort where one of the songs with the working title, ‘Ethio Kenyan Fusion’ also featuring Rapasa on Nyatiti and Rashid Jibril on percussions, with the maestro himself on the piano, and Eddie Grey on the guitar.

Mulatu Astatke in studio with Eddie Grey and Rapasa recording Ethio-Kenyan Fusion

Mulatu Astatke in a studio session with Eddie Grey and Rashid Jibril at Ketebul Music Studios

Mulatu Astatke @ Ketebul Music Studios

Makadem For Music Residency In Paris, France

It seems like globe trotting will again be the order of the day for Ketebul Music artist Makadem. The Ohanglaman will soon be packing his bags as he takes off for a 3 month music residency in Paris, France.

Supported by the Institut Francais under the Ateliers du Monde programme, Makadem was selected for the residency programme which will see him study under internationally reknown kalimba maestro, Lolendo Mvulu, with the intention of improving his kalimba playing skills.

Makadem who spent the better part of last year in Europe, will also use his time in Paris interacting with other musicians like the critically acclaimed Congolese guitarist Syrian M’Benza.known for his collaborations with the likes of Sam Mangwana, Vicky Longomba and Nyboma to name but a few. Syrian M’Benza is widely acknowledged as one of Africa’s finest and most accomplished guitarists (quoted from African Musician’s Profiles).

Makadem in Copenhagen 2011. Photo courtesy One World

We at Ketebul Music extend our gratitude to Institut Francais for giving Makadem this opportunity.

Featured photo ©Paulo da Costa


Retracing Kenya’s Funky Hits Released

Retracing Kenya’s Funky Hits has finaly been released! This third edition from Ketebul Music’s retracing series, is a research based documentary on the influence that American funkl and soul had on the Kenya’n pop culture of the 70s and 80s.

Compiled over a period of one and a half years, Retracing Kenya’s Funky Hits is packaged as a narrative booklet, an audio CD compilation of 15 Kenyan funk numbers from Slim Ali, Kelly Brown, Steele Beauttah, Sal Davies,Ismael Jingo, Feisal Brown, the Ashantis, The Mighty Cavaliers, The Hodi Boys, Black Savage and Air Fiesta Matata, and a DVD.

Sal Davies

Steele Beauttah

Kelly Brown

For details on where to get your copy, call us on 0720 561 198

Featured photo: Air Fiesta Matata

Air Fiesta Matata
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