Discover amazing talents featured in Turkana sessions with their unique songs

The project, which aims to explore the musical heritage of the region, brought together four Turkana artists; Jackson Nakuwa, Mourine Apuu, Jackson Ekori and Elizabeth Korike, and that of Nairobi Eddie Grey.

The artists featured in the sessions compiled a total of 10 songs together. All tracks were performed and recorded in live form, on the breathtaking shores of Lake Turkana, in the pyramidal hills of Eliye and the grassy plains of Kerio, all in Turkana County.

In the air, the soulful guitar rhythms of jazz recording and performing artist Eddy Gray blend with authentic Turkana sounds to provide a rich and captivating showcase.

It captures what is possible when we look at new ways to present our traditional art forms through high quality production.

The songs from the Turkana sessions have been adapted to address the following topics in society; the court, the reconciliation of couples, marriages, peace, the loss of livestock and beauty.

Also, men were discouraged from chasing girls going to school in some of the songs.

Jackie Lebo, project director at Content House, said the project also aims to make the voices of marginalized people heard.

“At Content House, making the voices of marginalized people heard is one of our core missions and this project does that in a beautiful and unexpected way. We started in the region working in photography and film, but always during the breaks, the artists would start singing and we knew we had to find a way to fit it into a bigger project,” said Jackie Lebo.

While Northern Kenya has always grabbed headlines for conflict and poverty, the region is also blessed with great beauty and cultural heritage. Its austere and arid landscape is home to Lake Turkana, the largest desert lake in the world.

The lake’s distinctive green waters have led to it being named the Jade Sea and its craters and crocodile-filled islands make it one of the most unique places to visit in the world.

Turkana Sessions is the third project of The Artists Xchange, a companion project to the feature documentary Turkana: Races for Resources which will be released in 2023.

“This is a time of great change in Turkana to bring art to the fore. There is an opportunity for artists from Turkana and beyond to participate in discussions about the most pressing issues in their region. With all the valuable minerals found in the region, the communities should be treated as equal partners, they are the guardians of a rich heritage that can inform unique African thinking about what these natural resource discoveries mean to us.

“It is time to change the narrative on Northern Kenya, show the world its art forms and inspire Kenyans to look to their roots for inspiration,” Lebo added.

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Grace D. Erickson