play all six clips
low | high

Chuka sound clips

All clips are OGG files streamed via M3U playlists; "low" quality are for slow internet connections, "high" for 56k modems and up. You may need to install an audio player or plug-in to be able to play the files - for more information, links and troubleshooting advice, see help.

There are more clips in each of the tribal sections, and a selection of tracks from over twenty tribes here.

Chuka - muriembe drums
Drumming featured heavily in the music of the Chuka, a small Bantu-speaking tribe from the eastern flank of Mount Kenya. Sadly, like the similar drumming of their Kamba and Embu neighbours, Chuka musical traditions are now all but extinct.
  The following three tracks were performed by the only surviving Chuka music group, performing under exclusive contract for the well-heeled clients of the Mount Kenya Safari Club - a luxury tourist ghetto on the northwestern flank of Mount Kenya, outside Chuka territory. The songs are part of a medley of male courtship dances, traditionally performed for a largely female audience, during and through which the women were supposed to choose their partners - possibly judging the men by their rhythm, the strength of their drumming, and their athletic prowess. The drums are called muriembe, although there are many other local names.

3:10 low
Chuka - muriembe drums
As above, also with whistles.
1:13 low
Chuka - muriembe drums
As above.
1:12 low
Chuka - drummers
Not exactly "authentic" (performed by the touristic African Rumba Stars on the Kenyan coast), but the rhythms fit.
4:24 low
Chuka - flute and drums
This is the only Chuka recording I have featuring instruments other than the trademark muriembe drums and whistles, in this case a flute. The only information I have about this dance is that it was "performed on happy occasions". The drums, incidentally, may not be authentic, as the piece was performed by the touristic African Rumba Stars on the Kenyan coast.
1:48 low
Chuka - drums
More drumming, this dance traditionally performed on the occasion of a good harvest. From Bombolulu Cultural Troupe, also on the coast.
4:21 low

All tracks recorded by Jens Finke. Tracks 1-3 (muriembe drums) recorded at Mount Kenya Safari Club, Nanyuki, 21 November 1998. Tracks 4 (drummers) and 5 (flute and drums) performed by African Rumba Stars and recorded at Diani Beach, 3 December 1998; track 6 (drums) performed by Bombolulu Cultural Troupe, and recorded at Nyali Beach Hotel, 23 January 1999.


Traditional Music & Cultures of Kenya
Copyright Jens Finke, 2000-2003