05 August 2007

Japanese Woman Masters Kenyab Nyatiti Lyre

World music fans may be familiar with the the seven or eight-stringed lyre called Nyatiti through its use by Ayub Ogada.

This particular type of lyre is from down the Nile Valley. My people are Nubian, and we've migrated from upper Egypt into Kenya in the last two thousand years. You find the instrument along and around the river Nile. It's maybe 5,000 years old; its pictures are seen on the hieroglyphs. (Ayub Ogada, in an interview with rootsworld.com)

In a curious cross-cultural twist, the Nyatiti is finding a new moment in the spotlight. Anyango Nyar Alego is a 26-year-old Japanese woman who has developed such proficiency at the Luo instrument that she's impressing Kenyans themselves.

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