Art Music Contributions Inspired By Kenyan Folksong Repertoire: A Case of Innovation Drawn From Samia Children Songs
Buyiekha, Esther Petronila
MetadataShow full item record
Today, influences such as globalization, urbanization and technology have led to fast-changing trends in music. Often, social occasions that were traditionally set apart with a view to learning and engaging with cultural activities such as children game songs and other types of songs have been replaced with other social activities such as media entertainment, sports, holiday travel and other contemporary activities. One of the negative outcomes of modernization and urbanization is that former social activities for instance, performing game songs, story-telling and role modelling become less attractive and practice of such activities gradually becomes extinct. Yet, this oral tradition is a powerful tool for the transfer of societal knowledge, skills and values, which should, therefore, be preserved for future generations. However, to counter this negative development, some composers have created folk–based works for public sharing. From the review of related literature, it was evident that in Kenya, little effort had gone into composition of art music inspired by children folk songs. The aim of this study was to fill this gap through collection, transcription and analysis of selected children folk songs which were further used to create art music works. The study aimed to explore Western classical musical features compatible with Samia idiom to enable creation of art music, examine dominant features from Samia children folk music for compositional and arrangement ideas, and expose selected Samia children folksongs to the world of art music. The development of this new culture of art music had to however preserve the identity of children folk songs. Review of related literature covered: Childhood experiences with music, the role of music in the traditional culture and composition as a creative process. The study was conducted in Samia District of Busia County. The target population was Samia culture bearers, primary school teachers who trained children to perform folk songs for competitive and non-competitive festivals, pupils who participated in children folk songs, composers of art music, and children folk songs. Snowball and Purposive sampling were used to collect children folk songs from rural locations among children who currently participated in Samia oral tradition. Data were collected by use of questionnaires, interview schedules, focus group discussion, observation schedules, and recorded via tape and video recorders. Data analysis was approached through melodic, rhythmic and harmonic content in children folk music. Interviews were analyzed through reading and re-reading, comparing and scrutinizing respondents' written verbatim transcripts to identify recurrent themes. The study revealed that there were a lot of similarities between Western classical and African music idioms. In addition, Samia children folk music had dominant musical features which enabled the composition of art music. The compatibility of Western and African music idioms enhanced the fusion of the two cultures in the composition of art music. The study also established that majority of composers had not written art music based on children folk music compared to adult folk music. The study, therefore, was expected to promote and propagate art music based on children folk songs for posterity.
- MST-Music