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The Culture of AIDS in AfricaHope and Healing Through Music and the Arts$
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Gregory Barz and Judah Cohen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744473

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199744473.001.0001

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Confronting AIDS through Popular Music Cultures in Kenya

Confronting AIDS through Popular Music Cultures in Kenya

A Study of Princess Jully’s “Dunia Mbaya,” Jack Nyadundo’s “Ukimwi,” and Oduor Odhialo’s “Nyakomollo”

(p.268) 22 Confronting AIDS through Popular Music Cultures in Kenya
The Culture of AIDS in Africa

Mellitus N. Wanyama

Joseph B. Okong’o

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes the song lyrics of three popular Kenyan songwriters: Princess Jully, Jack Nyadundo, and Oduor Odhialo. Extensive presentations of their song texts demonstrate the artists’ deep engagement with significant health care related issues in Kenya today. In particular, their use of local language terms and popular culture references evoke the threats and realities of HIV infection in East Africa. The songs discussed in this chapter are Jully’s “Dunia Mbaya,” Nyadundo’s “Ukimwi,” and Odhialo’s “Nyakomollo.” The chapter shows how contemporary popular music in Kenya has had to confront the subject of sexuality within the context of the dangers posed by HIV/AIDS. Far from encouraging promiscuity, as some discourses seem to suggest, popular musicians have been actively involved in spreading the message of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention through their music.

Keywords:   lyrics, songwriters, Princess Jully, Jack Nyadundo, Oduor Odhialo, Kenya, popular music, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, musicians

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