This is the VOA Special English Education Report. Current and former students
from Berklee College of Music in Boston recently returned to the United States
after three weeks in Kenya. They were part of a cultural exchange program aiming
to influence lives through music. They taught music, performed and donated
instruments to a Kenyan community center. They also learned about traditional
Music is an important part of life in Kenya.
SAM LUTOMIA: “Growing up, I sang a lot in school. And we had competitions and
choir and music every year.”
Sam Lutomia works for the Berklee College of Music. He was born and spent his
early years in Kenya.
SAM LUTOMIA: “When I moved to the States, I get exposed to a higher level of
music. And I was like, ‘Is there something I can do not that I’m in the States?’”
He helped to create a group called Global Youth Groove. Its goal is to bring
western music to young Kenyans, and get them to consider music as a career.
SAM LUTOMIA: “I started talking with students at Berklee College of Music and
faculty members, and they all responded positively. And we started collecting
Thirteen Americans made the trip to Kenya in July. They included four high
school students from the Boston area. One of them was Marina Miller.
MARINA MILLER: “We started out in Nairobi. We got a chance to meet with local
musicians and listen to them play.”
Project coordinator Aaron Colverson says the Americans presented a gift
during a visit to Kakamega in western Kenya.
AARON COLVERSON: “We’ve gathered like 20 instruments. We had some recorders
and also an entire drum kit, lap tops and recording software.”
Many Kenyans attended the activities offered by the group.
Berklee student David Chapman says for some of the Kenyans, it was the first
time to see and touch such instruments.
DAVID CHAPMAN: “Their music classes would just be them reading books about
Aaron Colverson says music can give someone a sense of power.
AARON COLVERSON: “When you put music in front of kids, it seems that their
minds open up. Music gives them a chance to express themselves through songs and
writing the songs.”
The American group also performed at a national music festival. During the
trip, Aaron Colverson says, they met with local musicians and listened to them
play. They also learned about traditional Kenyan instruments, dances and songs.
AARON COLVERSON (singing in Swahili): “It’s pretty music to say nice to meet
you, in Kenya where there are no worries.”
Trip organizer Sam Lutomia says he is happy with the levels of energy the
exchange program has produced. He hopes the trip will take place every year and
expand to neighboring countries. I’m Bob Doughty.