Kenya’s State House choir thrills audience at Tunisia Dougga festival

State House choir Dougga International Festival, Tunisia.

Kenya’s State House choir performs at the Dougga International Festival in Tunisia. The festival which began on July 15, 2022 will run until August 15.

Photo credit: Pool

Kenya’s State House choir thrilled the audience during the Dougga International Festival in Tunisia which began on July 15, 2022 and will run until August 15.

The choir presented a rich repertoire of Kenyan melodious renditions constituting of patriotic compositions, adaptations and arrangements of African tunes and melodies among others.

According to State House Music Director June Ogola, the choir was received with rapturous applause and standing ovation in all the cities they performed.

State House Choir director June Ogolla

State House Choir director June Ogolla poses for a photo with Tunisian children during the Dougga International Festival at the Dougga archaeological site, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Photo credit: Pool

The audience was particularly amazed by the mastery with which the Kenyan choir rendered the Arabic version of the Tunisian national anthem, “Ḥumāt al-Ḥimá,” at the beginning of all the festivals.

A famous Kenyan welcome song, “Jambo Bwana”, also took centre stage in welcoming everyone to Kenya by fusing both Swahili and Arabic phrases "As-Salaam-Alaikum, Azayir marhaban fi Kenya" which translates to “Jambo, wageni mwakaribishwa Kenya”.

Leading the Kenyan delegation are Mr Charles Wambia and Dr Kiprop Lagat, the directors of Administration and Culture respectively in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage. Documentation was undertaken by the Permanent Presidential Music Commission under the leadership of its deputy director, Dr Evelyne Mushira.

Thanked Uhuru

Mr Ogolla thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for facilitating the choir to participate in this year’s cultural festivities in Tunisia.

Dr Lagat said Kenya and Tunisia have a strong and a vibrant bilateral relationship that traverse the economic, political and cultural fields including music, dance, theatre, visual arts and intangible heritage, among others.

Tunisia Dougga International Festival

Members of Kenya’s State House Choir arrive in Tunisia for the Dougga International Festival.

Photo credit: Pool

“In accordance with the existing bilateral agreement on culture, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage, on the invitation of the Tunisian government, nominated the State House Choir to perform at a series of festivals under the aegis of Dougga International Festival that runs between 15th July and 15th August, 2022. The Dougga festival is one of the oldest in Tunisia, dating back to the 1920s and is performed at a world heritage site — the Dougga archaeological site.

“Kenya’s participation in this important festival is aimed at deepening the cultural relations between our two countries. Standing at the core of the foundation of a nation, culture is expected to pave way for cross-cultural understanding, an inalienable ingredient for the establishment of other exchanges in trade, tourism, agriculture, health, and so on,” said Dr Lagat.

The festivals, spread across various cities, included Melis Jendouba, Tabarka International Festival, Megrine International Festival, Bou Makhlouf Festival and Krib Siliana.

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