At his joint press conference with the British Prime Minister Teresa May in London on 13 July, Donald Trump was asked to explain his remarks about immigration having damaged the cultural fabric of Europe. He said it had been very `bad` for Europe and that what had happened (alluding to Angela Merkel`s decision in 2015 to let in Syrian refugees and others in their wake) was very `tough`, and mentioned terror attacks as one consequence of that. He said it was having a negative impact on European society and he did not care whether condemning immigration was politically correct. He then added that what passed for immigration laws in the US did not prevent anyone entering the country by crossing the border and, with one foot in, claiming rights that could prolong the legal process for 5 years, for which he blamed Obama. But his stance on immigration is hardly a surprise; he had campaigned hard on it during the American presidential election in 2016 and has not relented since.
Years ago, I remember using this column to celebrate the South Asian run photo studios which played such a major part in the documentation of Kenya’s family and social history (See AwaaZ III 2008). A chance outing put the idea into my head that I could do the same for music sellers and music studios in this edition of Awaaz.
In May this year, I went to the Alliance Francaise de Nairobi for the screening of Omutibo, a documentary film about a local beat of the same name, associated with the Luhya speaking peoples of Western Kenya. I sat alongside Tabu Osusa, a good friend and the founder and executive director of Ketebul Music, a production company with which I had collaborated over the years. That collaboration, with me as narrator, resulted in the Retracing series of all-in-one documentaries, CDs and info-booklets which sets out to do just that for the benga rythmn, Kikuyu pop, the afro boogie of the 70s and 80s and political protest songs in Kenya since independence. Tabu was also the mastermind behind Shades of Benga, the seminal publication on Kenyan music, published in 2017.