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***The nyatiti is the eight stringed lyre of the Luo people of Western Kenya and is the best known traditional music in Kenya. This collection of restored and remastered recordings from the early and mid 20th century mark the first time that nyatiti music has been documented and made widely available to a worldwide audience.
Nyatiti music’s infectious and hypnotic sounds are unforgettable. The driving beat of the nyatiti rings of far off styles of Western dance and techno music. Nyatiti players are highly respected performers in both rural and urban Kenya are called to show up at weddings, funerals and drinking halls and sing songs in tribute, in remembrance and for people to drink and dance to. Nyatiti music can still be heard to this day all over Kenya, but these recordings represent the unique sound of the first half of the 20th century, and the last visages of the sounds that existed for millennia previous before the music would change to adapt to a changing world.
The record features classic players such as Ogola Opot, who would go on to define the Nyatiti sound for the genre’s popular resurgence in the 1970s and 80s. Opot was considered the grandfather of the sound that most Kenyans would associate with nyatiti music. Captain Oluoch, Opondo Mugoye and Okelo Mugubi were all famous players who were asked at some point to sit down and record for many of the fledgling record labels of the time.
These recordings and the subsequent remastering process capture and bring new life to the rhythmic and trance like sound of the instrument. We are extremely proud to be able to present this first collection of exclusively nyatiti recordings to the public.