Gikuyu songs dominate music fete in Nyeri

Pupils performing on day 4 of the annual Kenya Music Festival at the Dedan Kimathi University Nyeri. [George Orido, Standard]
Students at the Kenya Music Festival have taken time to show how the Gikuyu, Ameru, Mbeere and Embu communities celebrate weddings and play with their traditional cultural dances with scintillating dance moves, melodious singing and spectacular functional costumes.

The overriding theme was that respect, love care and communication was key in bringing up a solid wedlock.

And the songs also emphasized on fidelity, security and provision for the family by the new couple.

And it was such a perfect space with the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Nyeri on the slopes of white snow peaked Mount Kenya hosting the event in Hall One.

St Nicholas Boarding School presented Maturu, a dance performed during wedding ceremonies including Ruracio to welcome the groom’s family at the home of the bride.

With marriage and relationships dominating in this category Rumuruti Primary School presented Numo sang in happy occasions.

Soloists Silvia Wanjiru guided the dances well in a beautifully woven story directed by Rachael Gitonga.

Thirikwa Primary School from Muranga County sang Muthetha sang during the paying of dowry to indicate goodwill from the groom and acceptance of overtures by the bride family winning a betrothal.

From Igembe south Sub County, Antubankui Primary School came with Kanunku, a song performed to welcome a new bride into the hut of the groom.

“Tell Mother to bring the house keysfor our brother’s house has got an owner,” goes part of the song.

Mathare North Primary School led by Jane Wangari were right on the beat as they danced Ruhia performed during cold seasons reminding the participants of the very cold nights in Nyeri currently going to 15 degrees centigrade.

The song keeps the young people warm to survive the harsh weather.

“Muhigue ndikuruka na Muranga ndimwire nii, ndari na ruhia rwainagia ta muguongo,” sang the soloists before the dancers in unison repeat the lines.

Loosely translated the line means ‘As you hear I am travelling towards Muranga and I was carrying a horn’ in this dance trained by David Mwithaga and Esther Moraa.

But what makes the festival a truly uniting factor for Kenyans is to see such a school as Kit Mikayi Primary School from the shores of Lake Victoria presenting Chebere, a circumcision song sang by young girls in praise and encouragement to young boys undergoing the ritual of the knife.

A similar effort came from Kimbilio academy Mombasa with Kamware led by Ivy Loice sang to entertain the bride for finding a suitable man to marry.

Other schools that performed yesterday include St Peter’s Primary Narok, ACK Kamuthatha, Nyondia Primary, Meru TTC, Thogoto TTC, Abadares TTC and Nyathaini Primary School among others.

Levan Mungai excelled in the set piece for boys Primary with song Lakukaracha, Mexican folk song depicting the menace of the Cockroach.

At the same time a good number of teams did not make it ti this years’ national due to financial constraints.

The most notable is Moi University who have cut a niche for themselves winning various trophies and defining standards in certain cases such as the Zilizopendwa.

The Student Dean John Ayieko speaking to The Standard said the students could not come to the festival due to domestic problems.

Pressed further, he denied that there could be financial difficulties and insisted students were sitting exams at the moment.

Reached for comment, the Director of the University Choir Mr. Fred Ongeri declined to comment insisting he was on leave.

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Kenya Music FestivalDedan Kimathi UniversitySt Nicholas Boarding SchoolMuranga County