Benga Kaleidoscope Kenyan: Emergence of “patch-worked” digital communities.

Benga Kaleidoscope Kenyan: Emergence of “patch-worked” digital communities.

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A new book about Benga is on the horizon and it features contributions from Mbithi Masya (Just A Band), Mwalimu Gregg Tendwa from Santuri Safari, KMRU and others. The publication is by FLEE, a cultural engineering platform dedicated to the documentation and enhancement of hybrid cultures.

Benga Kaleidoscope Kenyan

The story of an emblematic Kenyan music genre born on Lake Victoria’s shores more than 60 years ago.

Important Questions

Benga Kaleidoscope Kenyan, through the help of intellectuals, artists and journalists tries to answer various questions: intensification and digitalization of exchanges, and its impact on artistic practices; North-South relations; the obsession with authenticity in the World Music debate; and the problematic concept of “cultural appropriation”. Benga Kaleidoscope Kenyan was inspired by an interactive exhibition organised in Switzerland in collaboration with Hapax21 at Espace EEEH. The collection of essays touches upon various issues related to the evolution of a traditional music genre facing the emergence of new forms of “patch-worked” digital communities.

While the future format of Benga and its evolution across the international music market remain unknown, one thing is certain: Benga will adapt to reflect the people culture of the time. Just the same way reggae morphed from Ska to Raggaton and Dancehall, Benga is bound to adapt.- Mwalimu Greg Tendwa, page. 75

Adulterated Roots

The argument about lack of identity in Kenyan music has been around for a while. Mbithi Masya points to colonialism as a major reason for this vacuum. Additionaly, contributors argue that the roots might be impure and a stereotypical representation of our culture by the west. After all, the biggest Kenyan genre, that we can claim as our own, as Mwalimu Greg puts it “…is the illegitimate son born out of an encounter between Cuban dance music, Zairean fingerstyle guitar, and the Luo Nyatiti tradition. (page 80)”

 

Benga, a Kenyan Kaleidoscope is now available in selected stores and  at https://fleeproject.com/order/001-benga-kaleidoscope

Release Date: March. 6th, 2019
ISBN:
Page count: 116pp
Publisher: Bureau Sepän
Sound Safari Review Issue: Feb. 23rd, 2019
This article was last updated on 12-03-2019 to add more relevant information.

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