February 08, 2012 GMT
Musical Compilation - Kenya

Continuing on this musical journey we reach Kenya.
As I've trawled through lots of East African music on my MP3 player, and assembled these clips together from Youtube, they've triggered a huge number of memories of the trip. Especially some of these following tracks.

But before the music we'll start off with this video. It's filmed at Jungle Junction in Nairobi, the overland travellers' popular stopping place and 'Home from Home'.
And it must have been shot shortly after Caroline and Beau had returned to England but before I departed for the west and Uganda.

Here's the line up:
At 1:12 McCrankpin's Yamaha gets a wee bit-part, all under cover.
At 1:49 we have a nice close-up of Caroline's bike, and her faithfull mascot. That's followed by Chris, the owner of Jungle Junction, setting off on Beau's bike to ride it to his storage facility where it was kept while Caroline and Beau were back home in England. (They returned to Jungle Junction in the summer of 2011 to pick up their bikes and ride them to Khartoum where they now live).
On a trip like this you often see people wielding camcorders, and take no notice, and I don't remember anyone particularly filming at Jungle Junction, but it looks like the author gets a walk-on part around 5:53.

Now, let the music commence........

We'll start with this one which I found on a compilation CD many years ago. It came to prominence in the film 'The Constant Gardener'.

Kothbiro by Ayoub (or Ayub) Ogada. The title means 'rain is coming'.
I've added another version of this same song at the end, such a powerful piece.

Ni Kii Kiega, a Kikuyu folk song. Adapted by the singer Eric Wainaina for this good cause that makes a change from motorbikes.
He's taken on various political campaigning rôles with his music, including fighting corruption in Kenya.

Jungle Junction is situated in the Nairobi suburb of 'Junction'.
A long walk or short bike ride away is the huge Nakumatt supermarket. I lost count of how many times we went shopping there - all the western stuff on the shelves. On one occasion the rains filled the valley road between Jungle Junction and Nakumatt with mud, but I had a good rear tyre, recently fitted.
Very appropriately this video is filmed right up against the aisle for bicycles, mopeds and scooters - plenty of tyres in the background. And Eet Sum Mor biscuits are to the left, four aisles down.
Eric Wainaina again, with his song Twisti.

I'll check if he has a date free to perform at my local Waitrose.

No apologies for posting this one again. It's impossible to hear this without remembering so vividly the friendly and sunny streets of Kericho, with this tune always wafting out of the bar opposite the hotel and drifting up the sandy streets past the tailors pedalling their sewing machines on the verandahs.
And the equally friendly streets and hotel cafe in Kahama, Tanzania, where I heard it again and finally found out what the title was.

Isanda Gi Hera by Tony Nyadundo, in the Ohangla style.

More Ohangla. Adega by 'Bongisa' Nyakwar Nyoguda.

Kenyan and Tanzanian music are closely linked, and influenced by styles from Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nyama Choma by Samba Mapangala. Who was born in Congo and brought his music to Kenya via Uganda.
The title is often the only word you'll see on menus in small shack cafes. It means 'grilled meat' in Swahili.

A little way beyond the Nakumatt supermarket is the restaurant 'Carnivore'. Live music is usually on the menu.
Here's Samba Mapangala again, one evening last year.

Achicha Moimugakse by Lilian Rotich.
The Christian religion is still very strong in Kenya, particularly in the west. And Gospel music as well.
Lilian Rotich is one of the leading exponents.

Sina Makosa by Les Wanyika, a mixed Tanzanian/Kenyan band.
In 1971 the successful band 'Simba Wanyika' was formed in Tanzania. The name is Swahili for 'Savannah Lions'.
Over the years it broke up and split into various offshoots, moving to Kenya. This is one of its many reincarnations.

Last one, Kothbiro again. Sung by Cypriot singer Anna Vissi and a black singer who I've been unable to identify.

In Dholuo, the Luo language:
Rain is coming.
Bring our cattle in.
Dear children, bring our cattle in.
Our worldly belongings.

Posted by Ken Thomas at February 08, 2012 08:12 PM GMT

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