chapter  8
18 Pages

The Role of Traditional Music in the Writing of Cultural History: The Case of the Abaluyia of Western Kenya 1

WithMaurice Amutabi

This chapter examines the place of music in the reconstruction of Abaluyia history. The place of music in the Abaluyia cosmology is very central. They use music in every public ceremony, at home, in worship, in divination, and in every segment of private and public life. The Abaluyia celebrate certain parts of their past through music: flora and fauna, their neighbors, food, crops, diseases, heroes and heroines, wars and famines, natural calamities like earthquakes, ceremonies, and other historical moments. Many musical groups at the local and national level have incorporated isukuti in their dances, but the source for the drum remains among the Abaluyia in western Kenya. The Abaluyia are many sub-ethnic disparate groups that have often been grouped together because they have shared linguistics, certain cultural traits, and historical background. Music can be easily be transcribed primarily through extrapolation, for determining the relationship of that active aspect of society to other aspects of culture.