History and Culture of the Bukusu of Western Kenya: Reflections on the Community’s Rituals, Music and Dance, c. 1900-2015



This is the first book to discuss the history of music and dance among the Bukusu. It begins with an outline history of the Abaluyia before delving into the cultural changes that have occurred in Bukusu music and dance from AD 1900-2015. Birth, initiation, marriage and death rituals of Babukusu and the accompanying musical performances are discussed in detail. These mirror changes in the musical traditions of most Luyia sub-nations. The author comprehensively analyses the effects of globalization and the influence of Christianity, colonialism, acculturation and the post- colonial socio-economic, political and cultural dynamics on the musical activities and rituals of the society. Insights into innovations and media technologies which greatly impacted African music and dance traditions are given. This book will be of great interest to historians, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists and cultural enthusiasts.

This book is comprehensively documented. The author convincingly intertwines, in a scholarly manner, knowledge in history, oral literature, folklore performance and ethnomusicology [Prof. Mellitus N. Wanyama, Dean, School of Music & Performing Arts, Kabarak University, Kenya].

Dr Maurice W. Barasa, who is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, began his academic journey at St. John’s CPK Nursery School in Nakuru. He sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination at Mabanga Primary School in Bungoma in 1986. He is an alumni of Chesamisi High School. He graduated from the University of Nairobi in 1996 with a BA (Hons) degree in Anthropology. He later obtained an LL.B (Hons), a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and an MA (Communication Studies) degree from the same institution. He has a Postgraduate Diploma in Laws from the Kenya School of Law and a Certificate in Palaeontology from Harvard University. Dr Barasa, who heads the Heritage and Library Division of Kenya Railways, holds a PhD degree in History from Kenyatta University. He is a former high school teacher and adjunct lecturer at the Technical University of Kenya.


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