Retracing Kikuyu Popular Music

by Various Artists

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about

What are the roots of Mugithi? Why did gospel become such a big part of Kikuyu popular music? Is it true that there is a Jim Reeves, Don Williams or Kenny Rodgers cassette in the home of every music-loving Kikuyu? And why do vritually all Kikuyu popular musicians wear American Stetson hats, Denim suits, a leather jacket and a studded belt?

The answers may not be straightforward but in trying to unlock the riddles, Ketebul Music avils part of the archive of Kikuyu music in new and accessible formats. This is a journey into the roots of modern Kikuyu music. It covers genres such as Kikuyu country, Benga and Mugithi. The collection reminds us that audio formats change all the time, but content is everlasting.

Retracing Kikuyu popular music adds to the cultural memory of modern Kenya in ways that challenge the notion of cultural purity. The sounds images and the profiles of generations of popular musicians illustrate the virtue of external influences and confirm that culture is an unending mix of old and new.

credits

released November 11, 2010

Researchers: Dr. Maina Mutonya, Mwaniki Wanjohl, Sam Kilru and John Kariuki
Music Compiled by Tabu Osusa for Ketebul Music
Music Consultants: Joseph Kamaru and Steenie Njoroge
Music remastered at Ketebul Studios by Jesse Bukindu and Steve '64' Kivutia.
Cultural Consultant: Wakanyote Njunguna
Project Managers: Bill Odidi and Njeri Muhoro
Illustrations: Madddo


This project was made possible by the generous support of The Ford Foundation, Office for Eastern Africa

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Track Name: John Ndichu - Cuca wa Gakunga
'Listen, my friends,
I have no father, no mother,
I was born and they died,
I have no friends
I was only left with Grandma Wagakunga
She brought me up through a lot of hardship
Until I became a full grown man
I am so indebted to her
How will I ever replay her?
Dear God, help Ndichu
And help Grandma Wagakunga
I am so much indebted to you
I don't know how I will ever repay you'
Track Name: DK Mwai - Nana
'Nana come back to me, your besotted lover
How can you abandon me
When I have stripped naked
Andy I'm lying in bed, waiting for you?
My tears are falling like the rain outside
And I will die of cold if you don't stay
Don't let my mother overhear this quarrel,
Come back to bed at once!'