Extract from somewhere else in here (old stories still apply, right?)
Let’s celebrate – What a way to start a story? We are a blessed lot, yes, Kenyans are. We never miss an opportunity to flaunt our abilities, yet we forget so fast about those who created paths upon which we walk. Niendelee?
We have the good, the not so good and the downright nasty. Yes, Kenya is a blessed country in deed and everyone has something to offer.
Okay, let us talk about “Zilizopendwa Awards & Tributes Fest”, a platform to honor the many deserving music legends. What is the motivation or purpose behind the idea? Your guess is, and maybe even as varied as mine.
The ways for Kenyans to enjoy that hard-earned shilling is by engaging in things like holidays and travel, going clubbing, chill-out at the local, etc, and then there are things like exploring the culture in its diversity or engaging in music tourism. There are endless things to enjoy and learn from within our diversity.
The cultural virtues and values of a country determine the economic direction, identity, and personality of the people, but in many African countries, the celebration of culture has been left to the elderly and history books, even though a huge part of who and what we are is enshrined in our past, seeing that we like very much to be identified by our tribes before anything else.
However, we never really wallow in the beauty of our traditions, rather we view ourselves as people who have shed off the cultural tag, something we like to think of as an upgrade of sorts. It is only when one travels abroad in many instances that we start to realize that we are missing a big part of the normal things we take for granted, and that’s when we start thinking like true patriots.
But wait, when “wazungu” were still coming to our country in droves, they would and still do(the few who still come) invade our back yards to enjoy the things we consider as backwardness, the music that is confined to the village backyards and funerals, the events that are never complete without the local brew like mnazi and such, (which by the way in many instances are made illegal by the short-sightedness of the authority), visit our homesteads to record our music, capture and take photos of our tattered homes, pose for photos with us, and then they write books and articles about us and then sell it to us, CAn you imagine? I hope you do
The same can be said of our music. It is not too far off the mark when we talk about the oldies, the legendary, the foundational sounds that we grew up listening to, our ohangla music, benga, or bango. Our local music by any other name is still considered too unskilled to be listened to, yet it is the same music we will dance and gyrate to when we are drunk and happy on wedding occasions and other local or village level events. The musicians behind these songs are almost always never awarded, even though we have seasonal appreciation syndrome.
We can appreciate our wildlife, the serenity of our beautiful shores and beaches, and also enjoy traditional music, cultural diversity, and all the hidden treasures we didn’t know existed. Maybe it is time for us to invade, consume and enjoy the things that are of pleasure to the soul, and that is our music, our culture, our traditions, and best of all, our legends. Are you still with me?
- Wakake Brand
- December 9, 2021