Exploring the New Ohangla Music in the Context Of Urbanization: The Search for Relevance for Sustainability
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Ohangla music can be traced to the Luo community of Kenya. Over the years, it has changed in form and texture with the rise of new generations and new demands on the artists. The initial intentions, which were basically socio-cultural, have been overwhelmed by emerging economic trends and needs. In the process, even both instrumental form and manner of performance have been affected by generation changes and the new economic trends. The older and renowned Ohangla artists (Jack Nyadundo, Tony Nyadundo, OsogoWinyo and Onyi Papa Jey) established themselves in the Ohangla industry with numerous musical compositions and styles which formed the benchmark for this genre of music. Earlier and much older artists performed mainly in social places for entertainment with little or no tangible monetary profits to count. However, many new artists driven by the need to meet the emerging needs of contemporary listenership and monetary motivationshave since risen to popularity gaining a competitive edge with the older ones, establishing their styles, content and approaches which though borrow largely from the older tradition, have a unique twist that makes them stand out in their class. This paper examined some of the dynamics involved in balancing between indigenous styles and practice and the modern market-driven trends. The shift in generations has brought into picture interesting questions about content development, language use, instrumentation, and reliance on media for publicity by the artists. Relying on the Theory of Recontextualization in music by Hanninen (2003), the study examined the performances of two selected Ohangla artists in Nairobi (Emma Jalamo and Lady Maureen) to highlight how their musical performances reflect a transformation from the indigenous to modern Ohangla music. Observation method was used in this investigation. It is hoped that this paper will enlighten the scholarship on the dynamism of Ohangla music.