Our programs are tailored for people with a passion for the creative arts. Below you'll find details information on each of the courses we offer. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch
You will be helping deliver a workshop for roughly an hour a day three or four days a week which may eventually lead to a public presentation of their work. We aim to develop the juniors and seniors that we work with through various processes. The music workshops you lead are determined, by your own particular skills set such as percussion or voice. We encourage volunteers to develop their own workshops with their own set of unique skills they may have. To that end we deliver workshops rather than curriculum based lessons. Having said this, you will need to think clearly about your pre planning, delivery and reflection process which all take time.
A typical day on the music project
- 8:00 - 9:00 Breakfast
- 9:00 - 10:00 Planning and preperation of days activities
- 10:00 Pick up and drop off at site
- 10:30 - 12:00 Deliver workshops to kids
- 12:00 - 15:00 Lunch and time off (maybe a swim?)
- 15:00 - 16:00 Explore the local area and culture or come and help volunteer on some after school sport
- 16:15 Transport pick up to house
Information on Kenyan Music
Traditionally, Kenyan music originates from several sources. Many of the Nomadic tribes of this region share some common ground in the use of songs and chants, particularly among Maa speaking groups. Maa song has always played a large role in ceremonial life, and continues to. One of the best known Maasai ceremonial songs is the Engilakinoto, sung after a victorious lion hunt. Structured around a deep rhythmic chant it is accompanied by a spectacular dance in which warriors display their strength and prowess by leaping directly and vertically into the air. Elsewhere, the use of drums became widespread and central to elaborate traditional dances. The word Ngoma (drum) is still used to describe most forms of traditional music and dance. A variety of drums were used throughout the country.
Other instruments were developed, including reed flutes and basic stringed instruments. One of the finer of these was the Nyatiti, similar to the medieval lyre. The Nyatiti is commonly played throughout Kenya's West. It has a gentle, relaxing sound, and is usually played solo with a single singer, and sometimes accompanied by light percussion or bells. Ayub Ogada is a modern master Nyatiti player from Kenya, who has become internationally famous. His first album En Maana Kuoyo is an excellent introduction to the sound of the Nyatiti. On the coast, the growth of Swahili culture saw the growth of a unique style of music, called Taarab. Combining elements of African percussion with Arabic rhythms, Taarab become a popular form of music that remains a coastal favourite today. Traditional Taarab music used large numbers of musicians and Arab instruments such as the Oud, combined with violins and several vocalists. Modern Taarab continues to evolve, and is adopting some rhythms and grooves from Hindi film music and bhangra. But at the heart of Taarab remains a core of very rhythmic, poetic Swahili lyrics. One of the better known Kenyan exponents is Juma Balo. Inland, the colonial period gave rise to Beni singing, a group folk song that contained strong elements of social commentary and political criticism. Beni songs were always very long and were sung in the form of a narrative story.
The 1960's saw the arrival of both Independence and the electric guitar, and the birth of modern Kenyan popular music. There were two definite influences: From the South, South African Jazz and Zimbabwean ‘highlife' guitar work, and much more significantly, from the West, the distinctive rumba rhythm of Congolese pop. A hybridized form of music evolved- widely known as Benga, and usually rather tribally targeted. Singers sung in their own tribal language, resulting in strong ethnic followings. Many of these artists remain popular today, such as Luo musician DO Misiani , late great Luhya legend Daudi Kibaka and venerated Kikuyu singer Kamaru, and his subsequent imitators such as One Man Guitar. The rise of Christianity greatly increased the popularity of gospel music in general and choral music in particular. Throughout the 1970's and 80's Nairobi became a popular crossroads for African musicians, and many Zairean rumba bands either made Kenya their home or a frequent stopover concert venue. Their influence on Kenyan music was considerable, and much of popular Kenyan music derives its central rhythms and guitar lines from Congolese pop. Even today Lingala and Congolese music is extremely popular throughout Kenya. There was some influence from the coast, using more Swahili and Asian based styles, resulting in a short lived wave of Kenyan pop, spearheaded by Them Mushrooms from Mombasa. The 90's and the 21st Century have seen a great deal more Western influence, and the adoption of reggae, rap, rhythm and blues and swing into Kenyan music. A new wave of popular musicians is creating a form of Kenyan music which fuses traditional elements with the many external influences to produce something new and very interesting.
If you're interested in this project, please get in touch and we'll arrange a meeting to tell you more about it. Click here to contact us