“We have sinned and we are weak, we need your help.” This was the message of most of the performances in the ongoing national music festivals in Kakamega County yesterday.
The prayers by secondary school and university students ranged from asking God to shine his light on them and prosper future generations to asking for forgiveness for indulging in earthly pleasures.
The students also sang songs of praise composed from the book of Psalms in the Bible.
In the category of original composition of gospel songs in pop style with accompanying instruments and dancing, Machakos Girls, under the directorship of Isaac Kavehere, roused the audience with ‘Njooni Tumuimbie Bwana’ (Come, let us sing to the Lord).
Soon after, Kanyawanga Secondary School stormed the stage with their song, ‘Beautiful Kingdom’, by Paul Alela Ogutu.
“We are coming to you, Lord, for your grace because we can’t be secluded from you. If only we could see your grace,” they sang.
Lenana School came with their band to exalt the name of the Lord in a song of thanksgiving for God’s providence and in humility, asking God for a forgiving heart.
Also performing in the same category were Ofafa Jericho High School, M-Pesa Foundation Academy, Jamhuri High School, Sacred Heart High School, Apostolic Camel Girls Secondary School and first-timers at the fete, Ikerege Secondary School from Kuria.
Universities were not left behind - Moi University Eldoret took top honours with a Latin song hailing the new-born child Jesus. The song was directed by Fed Ongeri.
The University of Nairobi came second, also with a Latin song that was directed by Chris Wekhulo, as Technical University of Kenya under the directorship of Wycliffe Obiero came third.
Maasai Mara University, Kenyatta University and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University also participated in this category.
The festival has been useful for researchers over the past 90 years. This year, two Brazilian students pursuing master’s degrees in music have been at the event since it began last week.
Marano Gonzalez and Anderson Merklein said Kenya’s rich culture had left them amazed.
“I am impressed by the quality of singing, even by primary school pupils. This means Kenya is keen about music,” said Mr Gonzalez.
When they are not practising or on stage performing, the students have been attending a voter education programme at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, the festival venue.
The programme is facilitated by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission with help from university student volunteers.