The 91st edition of the Kenya National Music Festival entered its second day on Tuesday at the Masinde Muliro University with performances featuring traditional instruments.
The instruments included Orutu, Kayamba, Wandindi, Litungu and Isukuti among others.
The performances by various teams were breathtaking, setting the stage for secondary school teams, which will present on Thursday.
The halls and makeshift tents reverberated with lyrics as the teams took the centre-stage to display their prowess.
The schools participating in the instrumentation category also showcased cultural clothing.
Another category that attracted numerous entries was the Teso lullaby.
Pupils performed a set piece titled Aitaa toto (Mother is gone), which was originally composed by Franklin Etyang of Kenya National Examinations Council.
He is also a member of the Kenya Music Festival organising committee.
In the song, a child lulls a sibling by offering her liver meat with the promise that mother will soon be home and everything will be all right.
In this category, Kajiado Township Primary won. Mbiriri Primary from Eastern came second and was closely followed by Webuye DEB Primary.
Another category that proved popular with the audience was the Pokot folksong and dance. Kodich AIC Primary, which has dominated the category for more than 10 years running, was again at the top of its game with a dance on peace and reconciliation across borders.
Pokot pastoralists have over the years been clashing with their Karamojong neighbours from across the border in Uganda.
The Kodich folk song was meant to promote harmony between the two communities and serve as an example to other warring communities.
Sirisia and Busengu primary schools also presented remarkable dances in the category.
In the saxophone performance category, Heritage Junior School from Nairobi were the winners since they had no one to compete with.
The wind instruments category had many entrants as pupils presented instruments from different communities.
NJS School, Logos School, St Anna’s Karen and Kericho Primary were among the schools that shone. Others were Undugu Kibera and Samu Education Centre.
Rose of Shalom School was the winner in the original choral verse category with a poem titled Sunday’s Baby.
The verse depicted a man’s obsession with his car, which he calls his baby.
The presenters wondered why the father does not show such tender love and care to his family and instead devotes his attention to a mere machine.
Some men sitting in the audience clapped nervously at the end of the performance, perhaps relating to what the children were reciting.
Makongo Primary from Central came second and Nyali Primary was third.
The Permanent Presidential Music Commission (PPMC) has, for the first time, started recording audio presentations in the annual Kenya Music Festival.
Speaking on Tuesday at the event, PPMC director Donald Otoyo, who is also the Kenya National Music Festival chairman, said that recording the presentations will give the wider public a chance to enjoy the rich variety of items presented in the festival.
“It will also be a major boost to displaying Kenya’s rich cultural heritage and will be used as records for future generations,” said Dr Otoyo, adding that it will help identify talented students for future mentoring. PPMC head of audiovisual division Dan Simiyu said that a lot of musical talent is displayed every year at the festival but is forgotten soon after the event is over.