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Embu and Mbeere 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.


Alms song
The following three songs were performed by a blind woman sitting alongside the main road in Embu Town, on the southeastern flank of Mount Kenya. The woman, in her mid-30s, sang a repertoire of mostly Christian songs and hymns - the three presented here were the only exceptions. Underlying the singing was a constant rhythm from a tambourine strung on both sides with hairy cowhide, which she played whilst holding it close to her face. My awkwardness while recording her perform soon dissolved when it became apparent that the presence of the white man was causing passers-by to stop, which translated itself into more coins finding the bottom of the cut-open plastic Jerry can she used for collecting alms - you can hear the coins on some of the tracks.
  Please forgive the shockingly bad audio quality - I hadn't realized that my tape recorder was automatically boosting the volume for voice, which gives these recordings a distinctive (if not wholly unattractive) lilting quality...
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Alms song
As above
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Alms song
As above
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Choral: Nyambo
This rendition of the song Nyambo is a vocal piece only, and performed by the resident multicultural music group at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi. That, and the slightly overblown studio recording effects, make it far from authentic, but it's included here nonetheless as it's the only other recording of Embu or Mbeere music in my possession. If anyone has any more recordings, please please let me know!
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Credits
Blind woman singing and drumming for alms (three tracks) was recorded by Jens Finke in Embu Town, 13 January 1999.
Nyambo performed by the Bomas of Kenya; taken from the cassette, "Bomas of Kenya: Songs of our African Heritage" (ZAIT 511).

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