Retracing Kikuyu Popular Music

Retracing Kikuyu Popular Music

What are the roots of Mugithi? Why did Gospel music become such a big part of Kikuyu popular music? Is it true that there is a Jim Reeves, Don Williams or Kenny Rodgers cassette in the home of every music-loving Kikuyu? And why do virtually all Kikuyu popular musicians wear American Stetson hats, Denim suits, a leather jacket and a studded belt?

The answers may not be straightforward but in trying to unlock the riddles, Ketebul Music avails part of the archive of Kikuyu popular music in new and accessible formats. This is a journey into the roots of modern Kikuyu music. It covers genres such as Kikuyu country, Benga and Mugithi. The collection reminds us that audio formats change all the time, but content is everlasting. Retracing Kikuyu Popular Music adds to the cultural memory of modern Kenya in ways that challenge the notion of cultural purity. The sounds, images, and the profiles of generations of popular musicians illustrate the virtue of external influences and confirm that culture is an unending mix of old and new.

This Project was supported by the Ford Foundation (Office for East Africa).

Included in the pack:

  • Music CD
  • Documentary DVD
  • Narrative Booklet