The tune of the Kenya National Anthem
is an African Song which is heard in the Pokomo country of
Kenya. It is a traditional tune sang by mothers to their children.
The National Anthem was prepared by
a five-member commission headed by the then Kenya Music Adviser,
Mr. Graham Hyslop, with Mr. G. W. Senoga-Zake, Mr. Thomas
Kalume, Mr. Peter Kibukosya and Mr. Washington Omondi as members.
This method of preparing a national
anthem was completely new in Africa. It was the first time
a group of local musicians were given the task of preparing
an anthem for consideration by the Government.
In presenting the anthem, the commission
noted that it had to reflect the idioms of the traditional
music of Kenya. As such, many tunes from various parts of
the country were considered, and it was by no means easy to
find those which would fulfil all the demands made in the
context of their use as a National Anthem.
The tune had to be of the right length
and quality, yet possesing the neccessary dignity. It had
to be of such character as to make the writing of suitable
words manageable and this was complicated since the Commission
set out to provide words in Swahili and English. The tune
also had to lend itself to appropriate harmonisation and orchestration
for performance by a military band, without impairing the
original tonality of the melody.
expected that the lyrics would express the deepest convictions
and the highest aspirations of the people as a whole. Considering
that words can either unite or divide, great care had to be
taken to ensure that the Anthem was an indisputable unifying
factor in the life of the nation.