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date: 17 October 2019


  • William Umbima


, Republic of (Swahili Jamhuri ya Kenya). Country in East Africa. It has a population of 30·34 million (2000 estimate) and an area of 571,416 km². Music and music-making in Kenya are as varied as the country’s traditions and cultures. Apart from indigenous peoples, other important groups include the descendants of Arab settlers found mainly along the coast and recent Indian and European settlers following British colonization at the beginning of the 20th century. Each culture is distinct despite cross-influences. Kenyan music has much in common with that of other sub-Saharan African countries and beyond due to history and geography. Indeed, studies of musical instruments and many musical traditions in Kenya are best understood within this wider context. Kenya straddles the equator along the Indian Ocean (fig.1). As a colony, Kenya was carved out of a variety of peoples and cultures. The two parts (the British-controlled mainland and the Arab-influenced coastal protectorate) became the modern republic of Kenya in ...

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