The idea of Nyatiti Stories is inspired by the often forgotten history behind the 8th string Luo lyre, an instrument that treasures knowledge and traditions. By highlighting and give new life to the knowledge about it, Daniel Onyango unfolds the real story of the Nyatiti.
Growing up in the City of Nairobi in the beginning of the twenty-first century, much of the music was influences by modern beats and sounds. Having been exposed to various forms of musical instruments, Daniel found the Nyatiti. Amazed by its beautiful music and the traditions that come with it, he settled down to learn how to play. Daniel met Odour Nyagweno, one of the few people in Kenya who still knows and practice it. Odour became his mentor, friend and Nyatiti master, and passed on many years of knowledge and traditions.
Throughout Daniels 7 years journey of learning and playing the instrument, he came across many young Kenyans that showed great interest in it. What he also discovered was that only very few knew about the Nyatiti, although many of today’s traditions originates from it. He experienced that the meaning of the Nyatiti is often misunderstood and that it has a reputation that not correlates with the truth. Many youths thought of the Nyatiti as an instrument only played by old men from rural areas, and many had never had any experience of how to play it.
With this in mind Daniel felt an urge to tell the reality, and to bring the knowledge of the Nyatiti back to the modern society that stand at risk of forgetting. This misrepresentation of the instrument inspired Daniel to start the Nyatiti Stories.
The Nyatiti Stories is a series of concerts that seek to present the real narrative about the instrument. Each session provides a personal music experience in the music, the performance and the traditions and history behind the Nyatiti. It invites the younger generation to contribute to the preservation and promotion of our cultural heritage.
The series will be divided into five different sessions held in five different venues in Nairobi. The sessions consist of a two-hour music live performance by Daniel Onyango, accompanied by his band. With a mix of percussion, guitar, saxophone and modern electronic beats he will take the audience on a historic journey through time, back to the origins of Africa, towards the modern music of today.
It’s called the Nyatiti Stories.