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Welcome to Singing Wells’ Top 20 Moments It’s been nearly 10 years of travel, discovery and music. We’ve travelled across East Africa with the aim of bringing traditional music to a wider audience. With our Youtube channel now surpassing 5 million views, we wanted to celebrate the last 10 years of sharing the beautiful music of East Africa with you. Each week, we will post a new video counting down our Top 20 Singing Wells moments and memories….

Field Recording Report by Kahithe Kiiru Story

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Introduction: Project overview and objectives This report is to inform interested parties of the results of field recordings from Western Kenya under Singing Wells project series, produced by Abubilla Music and Ketebul Music. It reports on the field interviews and recordings conducted between Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga Counties in the Western Region of Kenya in the period from 17thto 25thFebruary 2018.   DAY 1 – Saturday 17th February 20…

Day Three: January 20th, 2019 Story

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The next morning we left early and drove from Bariadi toward Manzwa, stopping at the village of Budeka to record three groups: Group one: Baseki: This group was formed in 1975 by the parents of the current band members. They are from the Sukuma Ntuzu community and play in the Bulabuka style. The play drums, which they call Ng’oma ya bula buka. The drums are made from the Mahama tree. We recorded eight songs with them: Balogi Wa Ngamboshi: This i…

The Music of the Mijikenda Album

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…A collection of tracks from our first field trip – to record the music of the Mijikenda in March 2011….

Mohamed Uthman Kidumbak Group Group

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Mohamed Othman Kidumbak Group is led by Mohamed Othman Faki who teaches music in the DCMA. Kidumbak is a musical style with three main influences: Taarab, Unyago and Rumba. Dumba stands for a large drum. So Kidumba is a smaller, bongo style drum. Adding Ki to the beginning of the word makes it small. Mohamed Othman had no musicians in his family. He became interested in Kidumbak style music at 16 and taught himself the violin and bass. He went to…

What We Do Page

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Field Recording Visits To achieve the goals of the Singing Wells project we work in the field travelling to the villages of East Africa with our bespoke mobile recording studio. By taking the studio to remote communities we can record the music and dance performances of individual musicians and music groups in a relaxed and authentic environment, watched by their family and friends. In fact, we usually attract large audiences from the communities…

Aynu Traditional Group Group

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One of the groups we saw perform in Arua was the Aynu Traditional Music Group, led by Mustafa Draza. The group are from the Lugbara tribe and play the adungu, the ari (log drums) and a tin sheet for percussion. The Lugbara Tribe Population: Around 900,000 History: They were known in the 19th century as ‘The Naked People’, due to the lacking importance of clothes in their culture. In the early days, the Lugbara were a mainly chiefdom-based communi…

The Luo of Kenya Album

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…A collection of recordings from our trip to record the music of the Luo….

Singing Wells Stories Page

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Thanks for taking the time to visit us at the Singing Wells project. Here are some of our favourite stories and links to pages where you can read more. If you would like to listen to a sample of the music that the Singing Wells project has recorded between 2011 and 2013, then please click here. Tiny Moses We met Tiny Moses during our field trip to record the music of the Batwa in southern Uganda in late 2011. He arrived at the Travellers Rest hot…

Matende Culture Isukuti Youth Group Group

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We recorded the group Matende Culture Isukuti Youth Group, which is led by John Stone Khakabo Asutsi since 2006. There are 35 members of the group. The soloist is Stanley Liai. Their instruments include: The Isukuti Isatsa: The Big Bass Drum Mutibo: The bigger, ‘mother’, of the smaller drums Mutiti: The smaller, ‘son’, of the smaller drums Imbati: The horn Shirili: Single string instrument Tsichenjele: The rings The group dances in ‘processions’…

Day Five: February 20, 2020 (DCMA) Story

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We started at the Ngalawa Hotel recording Kithara who we had to stop recording on Day 3 because of noise. It was great we could get them all to come to the hotel unexpectedly today. After this we drove back to Stonetown to record at the DCMA and the Culture Musical Club.  The three groups:  Kithara – This group was formed by Rajab Suleiman. They have played together for 20 years and all live in the same neighborhood. They play for weddings and f…

Day One: January 18, 2019. Assemble in Tanzania Story

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Today is a travel day. The main Ketebul crew (Steve, Patrick, Drix) left Nairobi early to drive to Kisumu, while Tabu flew with Jimmy and Hunter to Kisumu (Jimmy and Hunter arrived from London on the 17th. We all met at the Kenya/Nairobi border and after two hours, cleared the border and drove to Tarime, where we met Jackline Odhiambo Aringo (Jackie Akinyi), a Tanzanian musician who helped organize our trip (see our interview with Jackie here). W…

The Kalenjin of Kenya Album

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…A selection of tracks from the 2012 field trip to record the music of the Kalenjin, in the Rift Valley, Kenya….

Day Four: February 19, 2020 (Maruhabi Palace) Story

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We drove back towards Stone Town and stopped at the Maruhubi Palace ruins. This palace was built by the third Sultan of Zanzibar from 1980-1982 for his secondary wives. It is now in ruins but you can still see the main buildings with baths inside, a massive overhead aqueduct that supplied water to the palace and circular ponds with lily pads. It’s set in a beautiful location along the coast surrounded by mango trees. We met the first group there…

Day Three: February 18, 2020 (Stonetown, Mpendae, Maungani) Story

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We drove back to Stone Town and the DCMA to record our first group. After we finished there we drove to Mpendae, about 20 mins from Stone Town to record the second group. From there we drove for another half an hour to Maungani to record the third group:   Tarajazz – This group was formed by the director, Suleiman Makame, who studied classical piano and music. He became interested in Jazz and created an African fusion of Taarab and Jazz about tw…

Imachina Group

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They call themselves after the village where they live. As with many groups over the last two days, most of their songs are for processions, like weddings, funerals, bullfights or rites of passage. So they tend to play 3-4 songs in a row to match the procession. We asked them to pick their favourite processions and then play a couple songs within these. They played: The Shirembe procession, which is a special funeral for a very big local hero, wh…