They were supposed to go and bring joy to the people, but it did not work out as planned.
On June 24, 2016, a boat en route to Ndenda Island from Lihunda beach in Bondo, Siaya County carrying a band of 17 talented youth of Boyieta Wuod Awasi music group capsized.
Nine of them never reached their destination while eight of them survived.
The government has now given the survivors of the Buyieta Wuod Awasi Band a lifeline through a ten-day training organised by the Permanent Presidential Music Commission (PPMC) in Nairobi.
The survivors and other group members from Rarieda and Bondo sub-counties numbering 14, received lessons in music, performance techniques, music production and recording, branding and management as well as sound setup and deejaying skills.
They were trained by Dr Donald Otoyo, of PPMC, Sylvester Otieno of Kenyatta University and Christine Wambui of Technical University of Kenya, among other music experts.
The musicians who benefited from the training are band leader Timothy Otieno Angong’a, band manager David Juma Omoso and dancer Dennis Ouma Abiero.
Mr Otieno thanked the government for coming to the group’s aid and said that they will now be leading contenders for the top ohangla band after the training.
Mr Omoso also had kind words for the facilitators, saying they had infused a professional understanding of music in the band members.
“This talent development training was not only timely and consoling, but it also gave us a new perspective about how to go about our job,” said band leader Otieno.
On the final day of the training, the band staged four of their songs for guests who attended the graduation ceremony.
The songs were reworked during the workshop.
They also presented ‘Rapar Jowanda’ which is a new composition that debuted during the workshop and ‘Tuombee Kenya’, also a new composition.
Among the songs that impressed the audience was Maurine Part 11 (Abiro gi diel achiel). It is about a young married man who is asking for forgiveness from his wife whom he had disagreed with and she went back to their home.
The band performed the songs during the final concert at the Permanent Presidential Music Commission grounds on March 6, 2017.
President Uhuru Kenyatta will be travelling to Kisumu in the next two weeks to present them with music equipment worth Sh1 million, according to Joe Okudo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts.
Mr Okundo and Dr Otoyo had previously travelled to Kisumu to console the family members of the musicians who died in the boat tragedy.
“My ministry’s mandate includes, among other responsibilities, to identify, nurture and promote music and dance talents among the youth in the country,” said Mr Okundo.
The ministry has been carrying out music and arts training programmes in various counties since 2009.
“The ministry will also take the initiative to help in the registration of the numerous songs by the Boyieta Band,” Mr Okudo said.