What constitutes an artistic identity, and how has that concept changed for Kenyan musicians over the years?
In a recent interview with Music In Africa, Tabu Osusa of Ketebul Music suggested the only way young musicians will secure a distinctive identity is by embracing traditional music. “East Africans have an identity issue,” he said. “It is because there’s a disconnect between traditional music and contemporary music. Other people take their traditional music and work on it to contemporize it while Kenyans take the easy way out.”
In association with the Goethe Institut Nairobi, Santuri East Africa and Ketebul Music will present a day of activities investigating this claim, and seeking solutions to questions of identity, tradition, innovation – and the role of technology in music production.
The event will combine a co-creation session between older artists from Kenya’s rich history of musical past, curated by Ketebul, with younger musicians, producers and DJs representing the digital age from the Santuri network. The workshop will attempt to bridge the gap between generations, and shed light on the changing nature of the creative process.
Following this at 6pm, a seminar will take place in the Goethe Auditorium investigating the results for the co-creation workshop, as well as inviting noted guest speakers from the music industry, media, and cultural curators to debate what it means to be a Kenyan artist. This will be open to the public to join in the conversation.
From 9pm, this space will evolve into a party that will incorporate the past, present and future of Kenyan music, presenting live performances and DJ sets from a diverse selection of artists.