Day Two: 8 March 2022 (Ilesi)

DAY 2: Tuesday, 08 March 2022

Artiste: Obasie Palnyang Band

Genre: Iteso grooves

Location: Josephine Garden – Ilesi

Field Notes:

We woke up to a misty morning on the second day of our recording. The plan for the day was to record the Obasie Palnyang band. Seeing the dark clouds hanging over the horizon we decided not to take any chances of being rained on so we arranged for Spade to pick up the musicians from Malaba and bring them to Josephine Garden in Ilesi.  Like the Omutibo Stars and the Super Phoenix Band that we recorded the previous day, we had worked with the Obasie Palnyang family band in 2018 while the patriarch and founder of the group, Obasie Palnyang, was still alive.

By one o’clock the group arrived and our technical team went straight to work, setting up the musicians but before we could start recording, and just as the previous evening’s session, it started to rain. Luckily we were partially indoors so we did not get too wet. After about an hour the skies cleared and we were able to resume the recording session. However it took a bit of time for the group to get some of their traditional instruments, including the adeu deu, in tune in with the guitars that were to back them up. One of the band members played the harmonica but it was only in the C key and so it was left out of the recordings of songs on different keys. Guest musicians Fiston, Ben and Gido also had to take a little time to play in sync with the polyrhythmic beats of the Iteso of Western Kenya.  When the tuning session was finally figured out the actual recording started at about 17:00 hours. The three sisters and their two brothers have pleasantly matured musically and it was really encouraging to see them helping to keep their father’s legacy alive.

All was done a few minutes to 8:00pm. After the routine photo shoot the Obasie Palnyang brothers and sisters were off to their serene village in Kodedema, close to the Kenya-Uganda border.

After the long day, some of the Ketebul Music team decided to accompany our host, Jack Songwa, to unwind at a local pub, at the nearby Ilesi center. We returned to the Josephine Garden just in time for the last orders that evening.

Profile: Obasie Palyang Band

The Obasie Palnyang Band was founded by the veteran Iteso musician Obasie Palnyang, an accomplished accordion player and folk singer who died on 27 May 2021. The band currently features his three daughters, Monica Obali, Millicent Akorot and Caroline Obasie on vocals with their two brothers, Donald and Tobias Obasie on vocals and accordion, respectively. On special occasions, as with this live recording, the siblings were joined by Simon Omuse on the harmonica. Fiston played guitar while Ben and Gido were on percussions and bass respectively. The Obasie Palnyang band is very popular among the Iteso people and their neighboring communities in western Kenya and the eastern parts of Uganda. The group holds regular shows at Amurai center and can, on occasion, be seen performing in the neighboring towns of Busia and Malaba.

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