The Significance of Stylistic Evolution of Kamabeka on the Bukusu Culture from 1945 to 2015


Technological, economic, social, religious, political and educational agencies have strongly impacted on the Babukusu lives and their music in particular. Their performances of kamabeka have shifted in time, venue and performance styles. Contrary to being performed during traditional marriages, circumcision ceremonies, funerals and beer parties, kamabeka is performed in bars, restaurants and nightclubs. This has led to the development of kamabeka in line with the demands of its consumers. New musical instruments have been introduced in the litungu ensemble, hence new styles of its performance. Kamabeka music compositions have been modernized to incorporate new scenarios and topics. The style of performing kamabeka is ever evolving compromising its original structure hence its function. It casts doubt as to whether the new styles of kamabeka can still convey values, beliefs and customs to the Babukusu. Therefore, the study examined the significance of stylistic evolution of kamabeka to the Bukusu culture in the use of texts for messages, lyrics for word formation and the structural forms of kamabeka from 1945 to 2015. The study took place within and outside the Bukusu territory where litungu musicians could be found. The study used a qualitative research methodology. The study attended to performances to collect data by observation and post-performance oral interviews. Primary sources included oral interviews from Kamabeka artists, dancers and listeners. Correctly designed structured questions were used to ensure validity of qualitative data obtained. In addition, data obtained was compared with that collected by the research assistant to avoid personal bias.  For reliability, structured interview schedule was evaluated through Test-Retest method to determine the desired coefficient of 0.7 and above at the pilot stage. Secondary sources included newspapers, journals, dissertations and books related to the study. The study was guided by Social Re-constructionism theory by Guba & Lincolin (1989). The study used a descriptive data analysis method. An assessment of the study against data analysis was done. Conclusions were drawn and recommendation made.


Keywords: Kamabeka, Stylistic Evolution, Social construction, Social deconstruction, Social re-construction.

Raphael Nashon Simiyu, Charles Nyakiti Orawo