Artist Profiles: Kenge Kenge

Kenge Kenge

Kenge Kenge breath new life into Kenya’s Luo musical roots, continuing its evolution, from the hand-made instruments of the past, through the popular guitar-based benga, and now returning to both re-explore the acoustic origins of benga and embrace their Luo musical heritage.

The band was founded in the early 1990s by the late Amdo Jawaya and Samuel Nyariwo and the name translates from Luo into “fusion of small, exhilarating instruments”. They started out as musicians for the Catering Levy Trust Choir but by the late 1990s had acquired new members, including their current leader, George Achieng, and began to create a more contemporary sound, focusing on the benga rhythm.

Introducing Kenge Kenge is an album of high-energy music and pulsing beat. The band works with traditional Luo instruments, from which the benga beat originally drew its sound, using the orutu (one-stringed fiddle) and the nyangile (gong), plus percussion, drums, horn and flute.

Discography:

Introducing Kenge Kenge (World Music Network, 2007)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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