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Artists collaborate to showcase culture through music

A team of five artists among them four from Turkana have teamed up to showcase their rich cultural heritage through music.

In a project dubbed ‘Turkana Sessions’ that brings together five artists: Jackson Nakuwa, Mourine Apuu, Jackson Ekori and Elizabeth Korikel from Turkana alongside Eddie Grey from Nairobi, have embarked on a musical journey through the astounding culture and landscape of Turkana.

It is an exploration of the region’s musical heritage fused with soulful guitar rhythms for a sound that is rich, authentic and captivating.

“It is time to change the narrative on Northern Kenya, show the world its artforms and inspire Kenyans to look to their roots for inspiration,” the team says.

It seeks to display what is possible in the traditional artforms and showcase them with high production values.

Turkana Sessions is the third project from The Artists Xchange, following The Flyest Wedding in Africa and Floating. The Artists Xchange is an undertaking that brings together artists from Turkana and Nairobi to produce work that responds to the issues facing the region.

The artists’ work involves various disciplines including music, video art, film, fashion, visual art and photography. The Artists Xchange is a companion project of the feature documentary; Turkana: Races for Resources which will be released in 2023.

While Northern Kenya has historically been in the news for conflict and poverty, the region is also endowed with great beauty and cultural heritage.

Its stark, arid landscape is home to Lake Turkana, the largest desert lake in the world. The lake’s distinctive green waters led it to be named the Jade Sea and its craters and crocodile-filled islands make it one of the most unique places to visit in the world.

“This is a time of transformation in Turkana and there is an opportunity for artists from the region and beyond to be part of the discussion and bring art to the forefront of the most urgent issues of the region. With all the valuable minerals being found in the region, communities need to be treated as equal partners. They are the custodians of a rich heritage that can inform a uniquely African thinking for what these natural resource finds mean to us,” they opine.

Nairobi based songwriter, composer, producer and arranger Eddie Grey is a self-taught musician whose work mirrors issues in society through the fusion of both local and western music.

He is heavily influenced by jazz harmony, classical engagement, African rhythm and electronic grooves, but can playfully cross over from one genre to the next. He has shared the stage with numerous local and international artists like Gerald Albright, Jonathan Butler, Sven Kacirek, Thaniswa Mazwai and Nduduzo Makathini.

By Peter Gitonga

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