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Discover East African Instruments

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

What is peke? Peke is a percussive instrument used to accompany voices for Dodo musicians and Dodo dance amongst the Lüō community. How long has the peke instrument been around? What inspired it? What changes have happened around the instrument and the course of changes?! Well these are just a few questions that we might ask ourselves when we see the instrument for the first time. Maybe we do not need to answer all of them today . Let's start by looking at the process of making the way it is currently made. This step might lead us somewhere.

The process:

Collect bottle tops, a peke maker once said to us “When I came to collect beer/soda bottles in pubs well dressed workers would just look at me wondering why does this man need beer bottles but not beer! I went back with holes in my clothes and I collected so many”.

Flatten them using a hammer, remove the inner rubber.

Tune them by burning in the fire.

Drill in the middle to make a single hole the size of the available wire.

Arrange them to form a circle shape with a handle at the bottom.

The handle will need a fabric tied to it or piece of wood inserted around it to obtain a good grip while playing.

Voila! That is peke. What was it then before beer bottles🤔? Let's look at leisure and entertainment. The Luo community loves drinking otia, mbare and aput. We will define these beers some other time, the brew would be served in a communal pot which each person immerses their straw inside. This practice of drawing from one source emphasizes trust. So it doesn’t bring us close to bottle packing. Let's look at what the instrument was before peke. Culturally, Luo grows a lagenaria plant which they use in things like storing ash to apply on the seeds as a sanitary and promote better growth and aguata for taking porridge and milk. Out of the Lagenaria plant they would get poko, a bottle gourd which is the name of the instrument before peke dominated. Inside the gourd they would put ombulu jequirity beans also known as the abrus precatorius.

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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Thank you so much for your feedback, we will be talking more about the movement and what is Dodo in our next episode. For now stay safe and healthy. Thu Tinda!!!



I was wondering about what was before peke. Thayou so mufor this nice stor. CanweleaI rn more about the Dodo music and dance. I know this a is featurein many of NyatNyaDala workshops. Take care

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