swedish innovation seeks to revive traditional kenyan music sounds



by Helvine Achieng March 17, 2021

Kenyans can now listen and play digitally sounds from traditional instruments by visiting a gallery or the nearest national museum. This is thanks to a new technology from Sweden called Music Sample Bar, which was recently launched at the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi.

The Sample Bar is the first one in Africa, and currently, there are only two at the Swedish Museum of Performing Arts in Stockholm, Sweden. The gallery is the brainchild of Hakan Libdo, a Swedish music producer and innovator who explores the intersection between art, music, science, games, technology and society.

Preben Wik said the technology is offering one chance to listen to the sounds of his traditional instruments (entertainment)

“It took us a whole year to come up with this dhow-shaped Sample Bar that has sounds from the Coast region from the Mijikenda community, due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and lockdowns, but it can take less than that to come up with one,” said Wik

Once the Kenyan government adopts the technology, Wik hopes there will be eight regions with a music sample bar in the city to play and listen to their region’s instrument sounds. Libdo also added that the technology had been given a thumbs up by Unesco.

“This technology is about bringing new ideas into the world of museums. The future museums should collect, preserve and teach, and inspire and make the objects accessible to everyone. We believe that they should attract visitors to play, explore and remix and this ample bar will help Kenyans reconnect with their roots through sounds and music of their past,” he said.

“We have a big music industry in Sweden, and the government has spent a lot of efforts in supporting the creative industry. In Kenya, we have been trying to work together with the government on various projects.”

The embassy has made plans to partner with the government through the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage to see how they can have eight sample bars representing eight regions.

“We realise that it can help us in retrieving our lost glory, realising that our children are losing their native culture,” said Okongo Manyibe, from the Department of Culture under Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage.