Instrument type

The nyatiti is an 8 stringed lyre from East Africa, played by Luo musicians. As well as playing the nyatiti – the musician also wears ‘gara’ or bells on the foot and an ‘oduongo’ metal ring on the toe, which is tapped against the edge of the nyatiti to form a beat. Nyatiti players will also typically sing during their performance. There is symbolism in the 8 strings of the Nyatiti in that the lower 4 string represent the first 4 days after a male’s birth and the upper 4 strings represent the first 4 days after a male’s death.

Notable players

Ayub Ogada, who played on our 71 Hours to Monday re-mix, spent time in the UK and provided music for the film The Constant Gardener. The late Okumu K’Orengo performed for the Singing Wells project a short time before his death.

Japanese artist Anyango became the first woman to play the Nyatiti – as traditionally it is only played by men.