Kenyatta University is known beyond African continent for its annual culture week, an event during which activities that reflect diverse African culture are performed. The much awaited cultural week is characterized by songs, drama, poems, drama among other topical activities. I was privileged to attend the cultural week organized during the month of September, 2007 and held both at the universities cultural village and the finals held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Kenya.
The most interesting was a traditional song presented in one of the native languages reflecting the manner with which the interest of others present and could not understand the local languages were catered for. Most of the songs were presented by groups composed of members from different communities, a clear indication of the cooperation and sharing within the communities at that time. A great artistic skill was depicted in the manner in which the singing group combined the different sounds to produce an enjoyable song, with coming in at different times and parts.
It was accompanied by both traditional and modern instruments, stringed, drums, the piano and projected by the loud speakers for many to be able to hear. The performing group wrapped a lesso on their bodies. However, most of the traditional costumes were missing, enough to predict that the communities were moving away from the traditional dressing codes. The song was introduced by two of the performers, who played different parts in turn, the dance was in pairs and the group also left the stage in pairs.
Through out the song though at different points, tonal variation was employed and this caught interest of the audience. All these reflected a great style. The lead singer who happened to be a lady demonstrated a great ability in tonal variation and dancing more than others in the team. Others could be heard whispering that “she is genius”, and actually she was and in all her performances, none matched her.
It was a fact that the song described above had a lot in common with other forms of cultural expression at that time. Other forms as well included more than one performer, and involved the use of sound to communicate. Many forms of expression adhere to a specific style during performance and involve some degree of individual inherent exceptional ability, even though training also efficiently enhance success of such forms. They are performed during a cultural event and need audience.
However, in contrast, most of the forms of cultural expression at that time were in a common language (that is English language) and did not involve cultural accompamyments neither was dance a common characteristic even though some element of demonstration were evidenced. REFERENCES Cook, N (1990) music imagination and culture. New York: Oxford University Press. Bratton, J. S (Ed. ) (1986) music Hall: Performance and Style. Philadelphia: Open University Press. Sloboda, J. A (1985) The Musical Mind: The cognitive Psychology of Music. New York: Clarendom Press.
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