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Nyangile - Rapasa Nyatrapasa

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Nyangile is a percussive instrument from the western part of Kenya mostly played by the South Nyanza Lüō people.  In Dholüō, language spoken by the Lüō community, the word nyangile can represent a kerosene lamp as well as the traditional cooking techniques of using three stoned fire woodplace but nyangile is also an instrument well known as sanduku which has not been much exposed in Lüō community.


Nyangile falls under the percussion family. It is a box made of plywood at the top and the bottom. It has a hole at the bottom to amplify the sound. Two open rings of different sizes allow vibration when placed on top of the plywood. On the right side a small piece of rubber mounted at the edge mutes the sound thus adding quality. The player steps on the large ring with the left foot to support as he uses a stick measuring about 40 cm to hit the rings and the box to produce a very distinctive percussive effect. Nyangile has a lot of coordination, the two most practiced beats are mach literally fire is a fast beat and rabai which is slower.


Accompaniments are, orutu, nyiduonge, ongeng’o, tung’/oporo, ajao and voice. Nyangile is commonly played in South Nyanza Lüō region primary and secondary level.

Nyangile session @Kitovu learning space - Video by Fezil Amukoya-Mauncho.