Upcountry began as the second in a series of ‘sonic portraits’ of Kenyans I have met during my travels in their country. The subject is William Ingosi Mwoshi, a master musician of the Luhyia community from the region just north of Lake Victoria. ‘Upcountry’ is the term used by people in Nairobi to refer to other parts of Kenya: to ‘go upcountry’ is to leave Nairobi, often carrying the implication of ‘going home’. The sound sources for this piece are derived exclusively from recordings of Ingosi I made while visiting his home in the remote village of Kamulembe and walking with him around the vicinity and in Kakamega rainforest. This forest is where Luhyia musicians and instrument makers traditionally obtained the raw materials for their instruments and was a rich source of raw materials for my piece. These sonic sources have been manipulated via computer to create a piece which moves from documentary to rhythmic abstraction — and back — to reflect the essentially social aspects of Ingosi’s life and work and to draw on the rhythmic complexity of his music and his environment, but very much filtered through my own compositional outlook and methods.
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Curator: Katharine Norman7 tracks