Prof. Charles Nyakiti Orawo



Department :Department of Music and Dance

Contact Address:
                                 Kenyatta University
                                 P.O. Box 43844
                                 Nairobi 00100
                                 E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Area of Specialization:Ethnomusicology

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Charles Nyakiti Orawo, Professor of Music in the Department of Music and Dance, Kenyatta University, Nairobi (Kenya) was born in 1947. He holds PTE (Siriba Teachers College; Dip Ed (Music), University of Nairobi; MA and Ph.D. (The Queen’s University of Belfast) in Ethnomusicology and is one of the last students of the late Professor John Blacking.

He is an ethnomusicologist, supported with extensive field research experiences in Music traditions of Africa. He has organized and participated in many International Conference and Symposiums both locally and world wide. Prof. Nyakiti has authored ten books on the music traditions of Kenyan communities; contributed chapters and articles to books and renowned International Journals.

He is a member of many International Organizations such as, International Music Council (IMC), currently the President of the Kenyan Music Committee; International Centre for African Music and Dance (ICAMD), Legon Accra Ghana, where he is a member of the advisory board and also the coordinator of the East African Secretariat of ICAMD, housed at Kenyatta University; a member and a coordinator of International Organization of Folk Art (IOV) for Kenya; a member and liaison officer (Kenya) for International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM).

He was appointed by the Minister for Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services (Kenya) to the Committee of the Kenya Music and Cultural Festivals where he doubles up as the chairman of the technical committee. He was elected to Kenyatta University Council as a non-Senate representative. He was appointed the 2nd Vice President to the Scientific Symposium of FESPAM 2007. He is the Chairman, KU 2007 Culture Week; Chairman, Departmental Postgraduate Committee and the Departmental Representative to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Board of Undergraduate Studies.

He has been the Secretary of Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Muhoroni Constituency, a member of the Board of Governors Kisumu Boys High School and the Patron, Prof. Ayiecho Obumba Mixed Secondary School in addition to researching, teaching, supervising graduate students and many other community responsibilities.

Completed Research Papers

  1. September/Novembe, 2015: “Jathum: A Specialist Luo Music Composer Performer .”
  2. July, 2015: “Wend Amen: the Role of Music in Wrestling Festivals of the Luo of Western Kenya and North Western Tanzania”
  3. April 2015: Kenya (National and Regional Report). Bulletin of the ICTM No 128. April 2015 (ISSN {Om line}:2304-1039. Pp18-26
  4. April  2015 “Music in the Propagation of Rights and Democracy in Africa”.
  5. July 2014. “Wend miend rut: the role of Music in the Celebration of   Twins among the Luo of Western Kenya and North Western Tanzania”
  6. July 2013. “Miend Winyo: The Bird Dance of the Luo
  7. July 2013. “Music and Bull Fighting among the Abaluhyia of Kenya.” 42nd World Conference of the ICTM Shanghai the Peoples’ Republic of China.
  8. November 2012.”Folk Culture and the Challenges of Globalization.” International Symposium of Folk Culture. Bahrain.
  9. July, 2012.  Modernity and Music Education in Africa The 6th Ethnomusicology Symposium. University of   Dar es Salaam.
  10. July 2011: “Onanda: A Contemporary Luo Musical Genre”.   ICTM 41st World Conference. St  John’s    Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
  11. July 2011: “Music Renaissance in Africa: A Reaction to  Cultural Imperialism”. FESPAM.  Brazzaville Congo.
  12. March 2011:  “Traditional Music Education and Worship.”   The Kenya Association for Musical Arts    Education (KAMAE). Kabarak  University
  13. Nov.2010:” Festival Organization.” Douala, Cameroon.
  14. April 2010: “The Need to Document, Preserve and Disseminate Kenya’s Song-dance Heritage.” A  paper  presented at the 6th National Symposium on Kenyan Music on   the theme  Kenyan Music the Living Treasure organized by the Permanent Presidential Music Commission at GTI Mombasa.
  15. July 2010:   4th Ethnomusicology Symposium in Tanzania. Title  “Music Research in Kenya”  Scholar.”An Individual Presentation- Scholar. Submission in English.
  16. April 2008 “Healing Dances: A Case Study of the Luo Juogi and the Dawida Mwazindika Dances.” A paper presented at the Permanent Presidential Music Commission. The 4th National Symposium on African Music on 13th – 19th April, 2008 at Machakos Technical Training Institute.
  17. Oct. 2007 Musical Diversity: A Kenyan Case Many Musics- The UNESCO Convention: Protector and Promoter? IMC 2nd World Forum on Music and 32nd General Assembly of the International Music Council Beijing China. 10 -17 October 2007.
  18. July 2007 “The Role of Music in the Liberation Struggle of Africa.” Sixth Festival of Pan-African Music Brazzaville,7-14 July 2007 Theme: “Musics of Emancipation and Liberation Movements in Africa and her Diaspora.”
  19. May 2007 “Innovation: A Measure for the Control of Cultural Changes in the Survival for the Luo Thum Traditions.” Topic- Cultural changes and Maintenance of Traditional Values. The 4th IOVUNESCO -World Meeting and General Assembly of IOV from9th to 14th May 2007 in Athens Greece Cultural Dialogue in Context of Globalization Conference.
  20. April, 2007 “Sengenya Music Genre of the Midzi Chenda of Kenya.” Theme: Kenyan Traditional Music and Dance a Living Treasure Permanent Presidential Music Commission. The 3rd National Symposium on African
  21. African Music Students at the Queen’s University of Belfast during the 1984 UNESCO Celebrations Music on 9th-14th April, 2007 at Kagumo Teachers College, Nyeri.
  22. March,2006 “The Characteristics and Specificities of a traditional African Choir”. The International Choral Bulletin Dossier Africa. Vol. XXV No 3 2006. (ISSN 0896-0968). p11.
  23. Sept. 2005 “Music and Dance: A Prerequisite in the Development of Crowd Self in Struggles Against Human Oppressions.” A paper presented at 2005 IOV World Congress 28th September to 3rd October, 2005 at Andong Korea &Asia.

Research Papers Published in Journals

  1. 2011: “Healing Dances: A Case Study of the Luo Juogi and the Dawida Mwazindika Dances.” Journal of Business and Social Sciences. Vol. 2, No 9
  2. 2011:   “Tero buru: the Luo musical extravaganza and a rite in a rite.” International  Journal of Current Research. (ISSN-0975-833X) , Vol.3, Issue 5, pp.164-169
  3. 2011:     “Innovation: a measure for the control of  Cultural changes in survival for Luo Thum   traditions”.   International Journal of Current Research. (ISSN -0975-833X),  Vol. 3, Issue 5, pp.160-164.
  4. 2007 “Place of Traditional African Musical Instruments in Church Service”. Chemchemi International Journal of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (ISBN 1563-1028). Kenyatta University. Vol. 4 No1. pp83- 9.
  5. 2006 “The Traditional African Choir - Characteristics and Specificities.” International Choral Bulletin (ICB) Dossier Africa Vol. XXV No. 3 -3rd Quarter. (ISSN 0896-0968). p11.
  6. Jan. 2003 "Music Education in Africa- Problems and Issues". Maseno Journal of Education, Arts and Science. Vol. 4 No. 2 (ISSN 1019-360X)
  7. Sept.2000 “Themes and Functions of Music Traditions in East Africa.” TIMBILA: The International Journal of African Music and Dance of ICAMD.: Vol.1 No. 2. Legon, Accra .Ghana
  8. 1998/99 “Solo Music and Musicians in Luo Society.” Journal of the School of performing Arts, Vol.3. No. 1.pp 23-36. (IBSN: 0855-2606). Legon. .Accra Ghana.
  9. Aug.1998 “Mwazindika: a therapeutic dance of the Dawida of Kenya.” International Centre for African Music and Dance: Music Therapy Newsletter Vol. 1 Issue 1
  10. 1996/97 “Ondoro: Luo Musical Genre.” Journal of the School of performing Arts Vol. 2. No. 2 pp 1-11: (ISSN0855 – 2606). Legon Accra Ghana.

Published Books and Memographs

  1. 2011   Music Traditions of Africa: A Study of the Music of    the Dawida.   ISBN 978-3-639- 36406-4 VDM    VERLAG DR MUELLER: Saarbrucken, Germany.
  2. 2011:  Music Traditions of Africa: A Study of the Music      of the People of  Busia. ISBN 978-3- 639- 35169-9    VDM VERLAG   DR MUELLER: Saarbrucken,    Germany
  3. 2010    “Music Research in Kenya: A Need to Collect,    Preserve and   Disseminate Kenya’s Song-Dance Heritage”. Reading in  Ethnomusicology: A Collection of Papers Presented at Ethnomusicology  Symposium 2010. Dar es Salaam:  Institute  of    Kiswahili Studies.
  4. 2006 Musicality in African Perspective 1. ( I.S.B.N. 9966-847-10-3) Lake Publishers and Enterprises Ltd: Kisumu
  5. 2006 Orutu Music Tradition: Fiddlers and Fiddling Among the Luo and Suba Communities of Kenya ( I.S.B.N. 9966- 847-09-X). Lake Publishers and Enterprises Ltd: Kisumu.
  6. 2005 “Performance Styles of Selected Luo Contemporary Genres.” Emerging Solutions for musical Arts Education in Africa(ISBN 1-920051-11-2). Ed. Anri Herbert PASMAE: Cape Town.
  7. 2004 Enyimbo Ezia Awasuba: Music Traditions of the Suba (ISBN9966-62-6), Lake Publishers and Enterprises Ltd.: Kisumu
  8. 2004 Musicality in African Perspective (ISBN 9966- 846- 67-7). Lake Publishers and Enterprises Ltd.: Kisumu.
  9. 2004 “Challenges of Adoption and Adaptation of Western Musical Instruments in Africa.” Henerares et convergences des musiquees traditionnelles et modernes d’Africaque (ISBN 2- 7475 – 7584– 5). Brazzaville: FESPAM – L’HARMATN pp209-219.
  10. 2002 LWIMBO: Busia-Luhya Song Dance Traditions. Lake Publishers and Enterprises Ltd.: Kisumu.
  11. 2002 MIEL: The Luo Dance. Lake Publishers and Enterprises Ltd.: Kisumu
  12. 2002 BUL: The Luo Drum. Lake Publishers and Enterprises Ltd.: Kisumu.
  13. 2002 NGOMA: A Short Musical Survey of the Dawida. Lake Publishers and Enterprises Ltd.: Kisumu
  14. 2002 MUSIC OF KILIFI: The Midzi Chenda and their Music. Lake Publishers and Enterprises Ltd.: Kisumu
  15. 2000 Traditional Beer Songs of the Luo People of Kenya. Lake Publishers and Enterprises Ltd.: Kisumu.
  16. 1997 “Dances of Kenya: A General Overview and Essays on The seven Traditional Dances of selected ethnic groups Of Kenya.”The Spirit’s Dance in Africa Montreal: Galarie Amrad African Art Publications.

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