It is a warm night and the theatre is full to capacity at the imposing coastal centre at Tabraka in Tunis, Tunisia.
The pin drop silence is interrupted as the curtains draw to unveil Kenya’s State House choir amidst thunderous welcoming applause.
The choir has entertained many at State events, this time, they are at the Tunisia Dougga International Festival.
The audience was impressed by the singing of their own national anthem ‘Ḥumāt al-Ḥimá’.
Of course, the choir, dutifully also sings the Kenyan National Anthem 8,000km from home.
They unleash a rich repertoire to this international audience, including Tunafurahia Madaraka Yetu, Pamoja Tumalize Corona, Tuko Uhuru, Taunet Nelel, Safari Rally and I Love My Country.
Some of the songs espouse the many achievements Kenya has made over the years under President Uhuru Kenyatta, like Reli Zetu.
The team wasn’t limited to Tunis but travelled the entire breadth of Tunisia including places like Melis Jendouba, Krib Siliana, Megrine International Festival, Bou Makhlouf Festival, and Tabarka International Festival.
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“The year between 2021 and 2022 has been touted as the year for arts and cultural heritage in the African Union with the objective of deepening intercultural understanding among African people. So, this was an important opportunity to take Kenyan rich and diverse cultural tradition to the rest of the continent,” said Director of Culture Dr Kiprop Lagat who led the delegation to Tunisia.
The Dougga festival is one of the oldest in Tunisia, dating as far back as the 1920s, and is performed at the Dougga Archaeological UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“Our experience has been fulfilling and our third international tour after South Africa and Swaziland and we are sure we have spread the word and message of peace to our brothers and sisters in Tunisia,” said Mr June Ogolla, the State House Music Director.
The choir has 15 albums to its name. Most of the albums preach peace and national cohesion.