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Discover East African Instruments


Continuation of Discover East African Instruments - voice with peke/poko? Singers sometimes do not sing to an already written set of words, that would be left to the immediate environment to inform the composition. Emotions in these songs are of importances as they evoke the mood of the song or occassion.

In many cases it would be a solo and response style. The music might consist of perhaps simple words.It can be repetitive which might feel monotonous but the flexibility within this rhythm makes it unique. The minds of the singers works at a high pace to deal with the complexity of the moment. As an audience you might think the composition has lived for a period of time but actually for the singers the only thing that is important is the structure. In this case the background vocals would be keen to respond to the words the soloist calls out.

The songs carry stories of great warriors, chiefs, they also address social issues and lodge a complaint. On the other hand, praises are directed to whoever seems to stand out from the crowd, maybe a prominent person gracing the occasion. Sometimes a composition brings the departed back to life from memory, in such instances the artist can be more poetic with their statement.

Song style in Dodo; sometimes soloists would call a section of a piece then chorus comes in with a response but then before the chorus ends the phrase soloists would come again causing an overlap. Musically, this can be interesting, as it can be restating the lyrics by the soloist or amplifying its expression. Again in some cases they can join towards the end of the chorus. The dynamics of the song can vary from topic to topic. It can also be placed in the intensity of the lyrics and in the case of adaptation of several pieces the ternary form would be used if the artist feels the need to do so. Artists observe the line of melodies or topic relations to work out what comes next. With other instruments such as orutu and nyatiti we will look at how they dictate the ternary.

The weight of tuning and tempo sometimes relies on indigenous tunes and how long the group has been together. The use of a pitch is subjective. It would be interesting to try this out if you have time, sometimes what is of importance to an artist is the song, expression in the piece and not the production of their voice. On some occasions the soloist would use ad lib to spice up or fill in the gaps of long phrases and vice versa.


Body movement; the dance here involves the lower part of the body, the group would dress in vibrant colored owalo-sisal skirts, the soloist would dress a bit differently including a fly whisk to stand out. The movement is mostly calm. The foot stamping gives more impulse of the direction and from time to time the soloist can break away from the group as a highlight of the performance.




Notable players:

Maria Luoch nyar Haseya Ugenya Western Kenya.

Anastasia Oluoch AKA Ogoya Nengo nyar Magoya Ugenya Western Kenya, Agnes Mbuta.


Thu Tinda!!!

Images; Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno

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Unknown member
Nov 12, 2023

Thank you. Looking forward to the next peke dodo dance workshop.

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