Where the world got real flavour of Kenya in London
Posted Thursday, August 16 2012 at 16:35
- The Kenya House was open to market the country as an investment and tourism destination during the London Olympic Games and it is here where the rest of the world had an opportunity to get a feel of the country, enjoy its flavour and interact with its people.
- At Kenya House there was a mix of private sector business executives, Government officials, artistes, journalists, sports men and women as well as friends of Kenya.
- The Permanent Presidential Commission (PPC) presented a showcase of musical artifacts from Kenya and opportunities for investment in music while the Kenya Film Commission presentation was based on investment in theatre, film and animation.
- The government, through Brand Kenya, developed the concept of Kenya House where athletes and Kenyans came together to network and display some of the positive aspects of the country. The government pumped in Sh470 million to set it up.
What was previously a quiet four-storey office building in Stratford, East London, was for the past fortnight transformed into a vibrant riot of music, dance and theatre.
The Kenya House was open to market the country as an investment and tourism destination during the London Olympic Games and it is here where the rest of the world had an opportunity to get a feel of the country, enjoy its flavour and interact with its people.
Country’s took advantage of the global sporting event to set up national hospitality venues hosting events including exhibitions, films, concerts and parties.
At Kenya House there was a mix of private sector business executives, Government officials, artistes, journalists, sports men and women as well as friends of Kenya.
Andy Patterson is one of the friends of Kenya who was attracted by the Culture and Heritage Theme Days. When he visited Kenya House during the last few days of the Olympics, he was greatly captivated by a performance by the dancing troupe from the Bomas of Kenya.
“Kenyans have been renowned for their friendly nature,” says Patterson, a sound engineer with The Singing Wells Project, a partnership between the UK-based Abubilla Music and Ketebul Music of Kenya.
In the last one year, the team from London has made three trips to East Africa and Kenya specifically, to record the endangered music of communities here.
Since March 2011, The Singing Wells Project has visited and recorded music of various regional communities including the Batwa of Uganda, the Marakwet, Pokot, and Tugen.
Patterson and the team have brought mobile recording facilities to the villages of some of the most marginalised areas in the region.
These experiences touring the countryside and interacting with these communities has convinced him even more that there should be a great emphasis in exploiting the cultural diversity of Kenya.
The internet based music map of East Africa, which is in progress, is a platform hosting information about instruments, costumes and vocal and dance styles of East African music.
So, the chance to meet a group from an institution that is one of the main custodians of traditional music of Kenya was the perfect opportunity to discover new ideas for the project to consider adding onto their free and open data base and possibly record the music during their next trip to Kenya in November this year.
“We started Singing Wells to put the music of East Africa on the map and so it is great to link up and to discuss the project with some of the main protagonists right here in London,” says Patterson.
The Bomas Troupe
To date, the project has recorded about 150 songs, across 25 communities and an additional 20 high quality performance and interview videos.