Kenyan traditional music to benefit from a UK project

Fiston Lusambo

UK-based Congolese musician Fiston Lusambo.

Photo credit: Photo Courtesy

Various Kenyan traditional musicians will soon benefit from a music project by the Art Council of England.

UK-based Congolese musician and producer Fiston Lusambo, who was recently in Kenya to work on the project, said the project, which involves various Kenyan musicians, seeks to replace drum kits, electric and bass guitars with African traditional instruments.

Speaking to Saturday Nation on Friday, Lusambo lauded the support from Daisy Anna Lees and Clive of La-Olam company.

“During my stay in Kenya, I was able to record over 11 songs from various Kenyan communities which I will now be mixing and mastering the authentic productions to work with producers in England,” he said

Among some of those he has recorded are Geoge Achieng (orutu, ongeng’o and sanduku) in  (Luo) Grand master Masese ( obukano ) in Kisii, Peter Orinda (oporo and abuu) in  Luo, Rashid Jibril (djembe, chekere and calabash), Kazungu ( Marimba) in Giriama, Gabriel Oduor (nyatiti) and Onyango Jagwasi (singer) both in  Luo.

Lusambo was also able to record songs from the El Molo, Turkana, Borana and Monyoyaya communities.

The sound engineer during the Kenyan project was Shunkiz alongside Tabu Osusa, director of Ketebul Music whom Lusambo lauds for assisting in locating musicians from rural areas.

“Working with men and women from marginalised tribes in Africa to collaborate and mix traditional music styles has been my focus lately,” he said.

Part of the project involved sampling the sounds of birds and animals in the forest.

For Lusambo, the current lull in the live entertainment scene due to global Covid-19 pandemic has been an ideal time to record and produce some of the new sounds in Kenya.

Now that he is back in the UK after a four-month stay in Kenya, he also hopes to liaise with members of his Zong Zing All band online.

They are expected to continue with online rehearsals for the production of new songs.


Crispin Tambwe.

Congolese musician Crispin Tambwe. 

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

Meanwhile, Mombasa–based Amitie Musica band led by Crispin Tambwe performs tonight at the Baogan Bar in Buxton, Mombasa. Tomorrow, the group will perform at Royal B in Shimanzi. Every Friday, the group performs at the Samba Bistro in Bamburi.

Group specialises in old and new rhumba songs.

Elsewhere, there will be a special Earth Day online event dubbed “Sauti za Leo” on Tuesday. The event hosted by USAID Kenya and the Nature Conservancy is aimed at discussing how Kenyans will benefit from community conservancies. 

It will be moderated by Emmanuel Kisemei from Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association, Tumiso Mathenge and Gertrude Seela. The Facebook Live event starts at 6.30pm.

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