Singer, songwriter, a multi instrumentalist and a contemporary dancer
Rapasa is a singer, songwriter, a multi instrumentalist and a contemporary dancer.
His love and interest in music manifested at a tender age in the village back in Ugenya (Western Kenya). Through enquiry he discovered of his family’s traditional music roots from both his grandparents. One was a singer and another was a traditional dancer. He can also trace back a lineage of Nyatiti players from Alego Usonga. He plays several indigenous instruments such as the nyatiti, adungu, nyangile, poko/peke, obokano, oporo/tung’ and ongeng’o amongst others. However his principle instrument is the nyatiti, an eight-string lyre from the Lüo community from the western part of Kenya.
He professionally ventured into the music industry in 2007 as a full time artist. He then developed his nyatiti playing skills at Owiny Sigoma. He spent time with masters of nyatiti in the villages (Alego Kobare, Unyolo Sigoma, Ugenya Sega, Rang’ala and Kisumu Nyahera). He also checked on other Lüo genres in relation with this instrument for example Dodo music which used to be practiced by men before women took it on. His music journey has led him to discover the integrity of nyatiti music. Through its storytelling, it gives an insight into our ancestor’s wisdom. Rapasa’s music is very much focussed on this heritage. His debut album “Tipona”, recorded and mastered by Nathan Okite and Jeff Chitouras (Under the Radar), is a spiritual journey through the eyes of a young village boy stepping into manhood. Rapasa also released an album in collaboration with the University of York on the project Human Rights Defenders at Risk “Songs of Equality”. For more information click on the link: The Security of Defenders Project. He has done various collaborations including those created during his tour with OneBeat as a fellow in 2017, music on Soundcloud Found Sound Nation. Back in 2016 he participated in the Nile Project musician gathering. His work encompasses writing scores for films, audio recordings, live performance and live music for contemporary dancers.
For more information go to www.nyatitinyadala.com
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These songs were written by Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno in response to the experience of human rights defenders at risk in Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, Indonesia and Kenya, through the research project 'Navigating Risk, Managing Security and Receiving Support Led by Dr. Alice Nah at the Centre for Applied Human Rights University of York.