Stories > 11. Masters of the Nyatiti 2017

Introduction: Project overview and objectives

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This report is to inform interested parties of the results of field recordings for “Masters of the Nyatiti” programme under Singing Wells project series, produced by Abubilla Music and Ketebul Music. It reports on the field interviews and recordings conducted between Kisumu and Siaya Counties in Lake Region of Kenya and Nairobi City in the…

Day 1 – Saturday 1st July 2017

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Day one of our field mission was originally reserved for travel, for the road from Nairobi to Kisumu City. However, as our schedule was going to be tight, and some of the preliminary work had not been completed, we opted for a semi‐formal preparative interview with John Otieno ‘Rapasa’, a young nyatiti player based in…

Day 2 – Sunday 2nd July 2017

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We started day two with a visit to Meshack at his late father’s home in Umala village, Alego constituency (Siaya County). His setting up for playing brought about a discussion and interesting notes on the accompanying “equipment” traditionally used when playing the nyatiti. These include: badiz (a piece of cloth tied to the player’s ankle…

Day 3 – Monday 3rd July 2017

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The third day of our field recordings was particularly fruitful. We visited Patrice Odour Oriwo known as ‘Sewe Oriwo’ at his home in Murumba village, Sega constituency (Siaya County), who fully demonstrated the making of a nyatiti resonator. We started off by going to a nearby wood and picking a log, which was then transported…

Day 4 – Tuesday 4th July 2017

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On the fourth day, we had several venues and individuals to meet and time we could spend in each interview was therefore limited. We started our day in Unyolo village, Alego constituency (Siaya County) at the homestead of William Ogutu Omondi. Born in 1936, this elder amazed us not only with his excellent nyatiti playing,…

Day 5 – Wednesday 5th July 2017

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On our last day in Lake Region, we paid a visit to Ayub Ogada, probably the most internationally acclaimed Kenyan musician, whose use of the nyatiti in different musical genres is both original and pertinent for our Masters of the Nyatiti story. We spent the day at his home in Nyahera location, not far from Kisumu…

Day 9 – Sunday 9th July 2017

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The original concept of the Masters of the Nyatiti programme included a side segment focusing on the orutu ‐ a one‐string fiddle from the same community. Because of time limitations, this could not be done fully; yet the idea of instrument comparison remained and was reintroduced through an instrument comparison forum held on day 8…