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I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

The Indie Bible

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Of Nyatiti, Psalterium and Artus - raw rock (rockumentary)

 In "Old and Young Team Up to Revive Nyatiti Music in Kenya" Jason Patinkin writes: "...the nyatiti has faded in Kenya. Old players passed away and young people took an interest in rock and hip hop music." The number of Nyatiti makers has also drastically reduced. As noted in this tweet: "We have less than 19 good Nyatiti players and only 5 makers."

One of the Nyatiti makers is Alex Ogwe, here recorded by the Singing Wells project.

Nyatiti maker Alex Ogwe, playing the Nyatiti.

That unique, danceable Nyatiti sound has even made its way to Andrew Bird's album, in the song "Nyatiti".

The song "Nyatiti" is featured in Andrew Bird's album

Artus is "a rock group just as untameable as the bear that inspired their name. For twenty years, Artus has been inventing a unique sound somewhere in between their Gascon roots and modern experimentation."

Thomas Baudoin, the Artus member who plays the Psalterium, says in the rockumentary "Artus, raw rock" directed by Alexandre Cartigny and Sonia Moumen: "I feel like we adapt to our evolutions. Adaptation means changing the rules, the recipes."

"Artus, raw rock" (French version)

Jean Baudoin "Papeth", a Psalterium creator, is also featured in the rockumentary. He says: "Nobody makes psalteriums anymore. I did some research and only got to see a few. When I went to museums in Paris, they asked me if I was a researcher, but since I was just interested personally, I wasn't allowed to touch them."

You can view (but not touch?) a Nyatiti in the National Museums of Kenya's "Cycles of Life Gallery" and in the University of Illinois' Spurlock Museum of World Cultures. In the Museum of the IAGA in University of Nairobi, you can view "a nyatiti musical instrument from the Luo culture and other materials donated by Prof. Florida Karani..." The location of the museum is the basement of Education Building on the Main Campus.

In a Ted Talk titled "Museums in Progress: Decolonizing Museum" Hannah Mason-Macklin begins by asking: "What does the movie Black Panther have in common with museums?" She goes on to highlight the different power plays in the movie's museum scene. One of the power plays is about space. Hannah notes: "We hear from Killmonger that he feels uncomfortable the second he is in that space. And that is not an uncommon feeling for visitors of colour in real life. To feel unwelcomed or watched in museums."

Hannah Mason-Macklin

"...I wasn't allowed to touch them. "You won't have access to the instrument, you'll stay behind the glass." Or in front really, depending on where you're standing!" - Jean Baudoin, Psalterium creator, in "Artus, raw rock" rockumentary.

Here are some more quotes from the opening minutes of Artus, raw rock:

"One of the constants of Artus is to practice the intangible cultural heritage of Bearn and Gascony."
- Mateu Baudoin, song and violin.

"To me, the universe of Artus is to always try to explore what's new around you. You can't look ahead if you first don't look closely."
- Alex Toussaint, drums.

"Some come from rock, others from traditional music. That's what's links us together...our differences."
- Nicolas Godin, electric guitar, percussion, effects.