IMG_3084 Obokano B&W.jpg

Obokano is an eight stringed instrument of the lyre family from the Abagusii community of Kenya. This instrument is large in size, its complete volume can be four times bigger than a nyatiti. The skin is held on the resonator using a light ring from the bottom and thin tendons that dry together. The obokano’s deep buzzy sound is helped by the lack of opening at the top of the resonator as you would see on the nyatiti. The bridges are made of bamboo held together by bee-wax. When played, it can be held across the thigh with the left arm pressing it down lightly as the left arm reaches the strings while the right hand mirrors the left one. Another playing position is to fit the head between the last string and the upper arm of the instrument on the left of the musician. In this position the resonator rests on the right shoulder of the musician and the instrument looks as though it is upside down with the resonator being at the top. It has some interesting playing methods such as plucking as one pulls the strings, as well as pushing and slapping simultaneously.