The Iteso community has been plunged into mourning following the death of renowned veteran musician Obasie Palinyang, 83, famous for propagating the Iteso culture through music.
Family members led by the eldest son Charles Obasie said the legendary musician popular for his usage of the accordion musical instrument, died on Saturday morning after suffering a stroke which ended his checkered music career spanning to almost seven decades.
He passed on at his home in Kodedema village in Teso North Sub County days after being discharged from hospital. The body has since been moved to Tanaka Funeral Home.
Iteso leaders including Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong, Teso North legislator Oku Kaunya, former Teso South legislator Mary Emase and Malaba South Ward David Kokonya led the community in paying tribute to the celebrated musician, terming the death unfortunate.
Ojaamong said the death is not only a loss to his family and relatives but to the entire Iteso community who cherished his ideals in promoting the Iteso heritage through music.
He said Palinyang was an icon in propagating the Iteso culture through informative and educative music to the community.
Charles told the press that his dad, who had no formal education, secured casual job at Kaolo sugar plantation in Uganda. He used his earnings to purchase the Accordion musical instrument which he used till his death.
He added: “During the height of his career, my dad entertained Kenya’s founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta in Nakuru and Malaba and the late Daniel Arap Moi at his Kabarak home and in Amagoro.”
The son revealed that Governor Ojaamong recently financed the production of CDs for all Mzee Obasie’s 80 songs which are readily available for those willing to have copies.
Among the popular songs which the legendary musician produced include Susy, Atwanare, Emanyit Lo Aapi, Emuria koliae, Kochoitet Eseny, Akidaun Ipejok, Abalang Kimusa and Eloo lakotoi, among others.
Kokonya said Mzee Palinyang’s songs ran the nerves of his followers, noting that they also brought life where there was none.
Kaunya on his official Facebook page said the passing on of the veteran musician is a big blow not only to the Iteso community but the larger entertainment industry.
He said the musician will be remembered for his work in cultural music that helped to inspire greater wisdom on various issues of the traditional society that will henceforth be missed by many.
Emase on her Facebook page said: “Iam deeply saddened to hear the passing on of Iteso music icon, mzee Obasie Opalinyang’.
“It is a sad day to the community and the region for loosing such a talent and a unique artist; that educated, informed and entertained the community enormously.
We shall miss him. May God comfort his family, friends, fans, fellow musicians and relatives at this difficult time,”the former MP said
However, a section of the Iteso community took issue with the leaders who are now eulogising the deceased musician with great messages despite neglecting him to live as a pauper for decades
A popular Malaba activist Okoit Lok’Etyang said: “Now see how they are eulogising Obasie Palinyang. You would be forgiven to think he just fell from the sky the other day. It’s like they never knew he lived like a pauper despite his great music that they are talking so good about.”
By Melechezedeck Ejakait