A short while ago we were contacted by Andrea Dyck who is the curator of Contemporary Cultures at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg, Canada. Andrea explained that she was planning an exhibition of traditional African musical instruments and during her research she had come across Singing Wells. We were able to provide Andrea with some information about the instruments and, importantly, some photos and videos of the instruments being played, which are from our field trip to Western Kenya in November 2011.
The instruments now on display at the Manitoba Museum were donated to the museum in 2011 by a Canadian who had worked in Maseno, Kenya in the late 1960s. During the course of his work there, he was often invited to gatherings in the villages around the area where musicians would be part of the evening. At the end of the evening, the musicians would usually sell their instruments to foreigners in attendance. The donor purchased 5 instruments in this way: two drums, one from the Luo tribe, the other from the Luhya tribe), one nyatiti (Luo), one orutu (Luo), and a fifth instrument called the litungu (Luo).
Andrea Dyck, Curator of Contemporary Cultures, The Manitoba Museum
Andrea Dyck received her Master’s Degree in History from the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba, where her research focused on immigration and ethno-religious history. Andrea is responsible for research, collections, and exhibit development related to newcomers to Manitoba from the post-World War II period to the present. In particular, her interests are focused on the relationship that forms between immigrants and their receiving society, and how newcomers adapt and negotiate their way, as individuals and as a group, through the changes they encounter in their new lives.