Jogoo la shambani haliwiki mjini: The village and the town in the Mũgithi and one-man guitar performances in Kenya
African Studies Quarterly
University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
The 1990s marked an emergence of a relatively new genre in the contours of Kenyan popular culture. The Mũgithi performance signaled a beginning of new directions, largely in Kenyan music and specifically in the contemporary Gikuyu music in terms of themes and style. The performance, mostly an urban phenomenon dominated by Gĩkũyũ one-man guitarists, is a major site for negotiation of identities and incorporates the interface and interplay between the traditional and the contemporary, especially in the urban setting. This article highlights the inherent contradictions in creation and re-creation of urban identities as expressed in this music. The main argument is that identities are always contested and different socio-economic situations call for a negotiation, if not a re-negotiation of identities. © University of Florida Board of Trustees.