Kakamega town was in a party mood last weekend as participants maximised on the public limelight during the gala event as the curtains fell on the 91st edition of the Kenya National Music Festival at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.
The audience was driven crazy by electrifying cultural dances, folk songs Taarab, Zilizopendwa songs and choir displays where Principal secretary for Basic Education, Dr Belio Kipsang, was the chief guest. Crowds thronged the university’s Multipurpose Hall as winners of various categories were rewarded with cash and trophies.
The best teams also booked tickets to entertain President Kenyatta at Kakamega State Lodge. Overall winners received cash awards of Sh200,000; second runners-up got Sh150,000 while those who emerged third went home with Sh100,000. All winners also took home trophies.
Western Kenya academic giants Chavakali High School with their hit Zilizopendwa song titled Mobutu Siseseko, originally sang by Franco Lwambo Makiadi in his praise of the late DR Congo leader Mobutu Seseseko, thrilled the audience. But it was their dancing styles that really entertained the crowds.
Mama Ngina High School from Mombasa also proved to the audience they are the queens of Taarab when their presented well-orchestrated Taarab dance titled, Chungu Chetu. Their sweet melodies projected well, earning them a ticket to Kakamega State Lodge.
A combined choir presented a song titled Luanda Magere by students from University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Burumba Secondary and Alliance High also entertained the guests.
The students highlighted the life of Luanda Magere, the Luo legendary warrior who was brought down by his wife. Other schools that staged smart presentations, earning trophies and cash awards were Joytown Secondary School, Bunyore Girls (best choral verse) and Alliance High School (German choral verse.
Precious Blood Girls, the University of Nairobi, Moi Girls Eldoret, St Tersas Girls and Musambweni Girls also harvested several trophies. Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor, Dr Patrick Njoroge, said music is the best tool for preaching peace worldwide.
CBK are the event’s main sponsors. The theme of the event was Enhancing Peace, Cohesion and Integration Through Music. “As people get entertained, they easily get the message that they should keep peace and harmony,” he said.
Njoroge said CBK is committed to promoting talent among young people by sponsoring music festivals. CBK had sponsored the event to a tune of Sh25 million with aim of promoting national values through music. He thanked guest performers from Uganda, saying their move has impacted positively in the promotion of East African integration.
Uganda had 500 participants in the festival, the highest number ever recorded. Dr Kipsang asked teachers and trainers to help school children development and nurture their talents so that they can earn a living from their talents.
“Talents are important in the lives of young people which should be discovered and developed to enable one earn a living. From, what has been performed here I am convinced that we have many talents here which can be developed to international standards,” he said.
The PS said his ministry will ensure most of the co-curriculum activities are included in the school teaching timetable to give school children time to develop their talents.