3rd October 2023

The SampleBar Kenya - A unique way to preserve Cultural Heritage

In our rapidly changing world many countries and regions are losing their roots, and cultural heritage. Many traditional musical instruments are at a danger of facing extinction. The young generation adopt to the western lifestyle and are not interested in learning the old songs or how to make or play the old instruments. In a near future no one will know how to make or play these instruments, or even how they sound.

In this project we are looking at a new and innovative way to preserve aspects of musical instruments that are facing the destiny of becoming extinct. In a collaboration between Sweden and Kenya, we are using a new Swedish innovation, together with Kenyan artists and musicians, to uniquely protect and safeguard traditional Kenyan music and musical instruments

We have received funding for this project from the Swedish Institute, Creative Force initiative.

Videos on the project.

SampleBar at the Museum of performing arts in Stockholm

The only two existing SampleBars in the world so far are located at the museum of performing arts in Stockholm, Sweden.
In the video to the right, you can see the creator of the SampleBar,  Håkan Lidbo explain how it works.
Håkan also founded the Rumtiden Idea Lab in Stockholm Sweden, where his team explore the intersection between new art forms, science, and society.

SampleBar Kenya - In the making

During this amazing project (at least we think so). We have been making some films from moments we would like to keep. and share.

 This first video is taken during the building of the table in a suburb of Nairobi. Peter Walala, artist, Preben and Daniel speaks about hopes for the future. At this point we were all focusing on getting it done despite corona, but with respect for the virus.
Safe but still constructive.

Field-trip to Burangi village

A film (our favorite) from the recording day at Burangi Village, in the region of Malindi, on the coast of Kenya. It was a long day which started at sunrise.. picking up all the people involved along the way. We made the journey to this remote village, in order to get as little sound pollution as possible in an authentic environment.

The musicians are well known and have been working all over the world, both on stages and as teachers at some Universities.. But here on their home stage, with unlimited access to coconut wine they gave a performance worth a memory.. 

A night at the Embassy

And so it came, finally. The release day of the SampleBar.
Due to corona, everything had taken much longer time and the original plans were changed many times. But still – We made it!
The reception was held at the Swedish ambassador’s residence in Nairobi.  People from the music institutes, museums, politicians and press were invited.

Between two flags

The Swedish embassy of Nairobi has a channel on social media called “Between two Flags“. This is us as guests in that program with host Mutheu Mbondo.

After the recordings at Burangi Village, a spontaneous live music event took place. Please enjoy original songs from Mijikenda.

Mbutch our drumteacher

Daniel Mbutch Muhuni

Daniel “Mbutch” Muhuni of DebeDebe will be responsible for finding the local musicians and the instruments and for arranging for recording sessions. Mbutch is a renowned percussionist and music producer in Kenya and one of the founders of DebeDebe. He has held workshops in Kenya and several places in Europe and worked with a number of cultural institutions such as Alliance Francaise, and Goethe Institute. He has deep knowledge about local music and culture and has done research and documentation of endangered instruments from the coastal region of Kenya