Bill Odidi

About the Author Bill Odidi

Bill Odidi is a journalist with the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) in Nairobi, Kenya, where he is currently the head of the national English Service radio. He also presents News and Current Affairs programmes on the KBC Channel One Television.

music

Highlife: The heart and soul of Ghana’s popular music

From its infancy as music for the urban elites to its heyday as the soundtrack for the liberation movement in Ghana, highlife music has remained the bedrock of West African popular culture. This is the story of a genre that has survived through generations and different trends to retain its unique identity amidst a host of contemporary influences

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Working towards change in Cameroon’s challenging music industry

Cameroon has produced some of Africa’s best-known musicians, from Manu Dibango to Richard Bona, Francis Bebey to Sam Fan Thomas. Today the country is bustling with fresh young talent which, influenced by global trends, are playing a mix of contemporary rhythms, from Soul to Rhythm and Blues, House to Jazz and Hip-hop. But the current crop of artists are having to do it all on their own with no professional organization, very few gigs and limited airplay on radio and TV.

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The future of Kenya’s nyatiti

There are fewer and fewer musicians in Kenya today playing the nyatiti, the eight stringed lyre of the Luo community. However this instrument is reaching new parts of the world thanks to some cross-cultural collaboration. This global appeal all started with a Japanese woman who traveled to a village in rural Kenya to learn at the feet of one of the masters. Does the future of the nyatiti lie far outside its original home?

music

Taarab: to be moved by music

Taarab may be the oldest surviving genre of East African music, but what was initially a form of entertainment for the elitist classes has, today, evolved into the popular commercial realm with a sound that is widely borrowed by pop and hip-hop artistes in the region.

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Kenya’s Benga: surviving 60 years of influence

Benga music began as a hybrid between traditional string instruments and the urban guitar music introduced to Kenya in the 1950s. This frenetic style of dance music has survived through the decades, producing some of the biggest stars of Kenyan music, gaining popularity in other parts of Africa, and yet fewer and fewer of the country’s musicians are playing benga today.