Social change through music

By interviewing artists in Nairobi, NAI guest researcher Emily Akuno seeks to understand how young Kenyans perceive their reality and if music is influenced by this.
− l am also interested in how music helps people to cope with the everyday troubles of urban life.

So far, her research shows that youths are very aware of what is happening in Kenya, but the interpretation varies depending on the people they are among.

− They do question all information and don’t take the answers for granted. Young people want one Kenya, not many ethnic groups. Consequently, a common theme in music is resisting tribalism, Emily Akuno notes.

In general, there is discontent with politicians. People now want good governance without the interference of politicians. For instance, poverty is not perceived as a political question but as relating rather to governance. Many lyrics and plays deal with corruption, often in a satirical way.

− I wish for my research to be used at the music departments in university, so that students learn to feel good and live well through music. And if there is rage, channel it through music instead of throwing rocks at the police and risk being shot to death. If my research means that one youth avoids a bullet, l will be very happy, Emily Akuno affirms.


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