OHANGLA

Ohangla, a traditional musical outfit originating within the Luo, community of western Kenya and spreading into other Kenyan communities as has been reborn and restored now cuts across age groups and tribal lines.

Present ohangla whose original beats and vocal harmonies have been infused with modern instruments is used for common entertainment, including at wedding parties and campaign rallies. While in the olden days, ohangla was mainly played at funerals, beer parties and during other cultural celebrations.

Gone are the days when ohangala music was mainly associated with energetic twist of the hips, provocative dances, obscene lyrics and liberal changaa (illicit brew) drinking among fans and players in Kenya.

Ohangla has now been reloaded whereas in the olden days the music was mainly enjoyed by middle aged and old men and women from the Luo community.

The original Ohangla has very fast tempo nature and vulgar messages convey in the music. Local elders used to ban ohangla music in the early 80’s. Because the music was meant for adults. “the songs can only be interpreted by very intelligent or mature people, but not children or teenagers” says Juma Oketch a ohangala band vocalist based in Nairobi.

The themes of the songs mostly revolve around love and the perils of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Other musicians simply immortalize prominent people in society, such politicians and academicians among others.

Both the young and the old, Luos and non-Luos have embraced ohangla, with passion. It is not surprising to hear a person from for example the Kikuyu tribe of Kenya, humming the lyrics of ohangla, which never misses from the entertainment menu at any major event in Kenya today.

Even foreign tourists are not an exception, especially those from Europe, America, Canada and France frequent ohangla night spots in Nairobi city and can be seen dancing wildly to the beats. This Sub page welcomes you to a sample taste of such hits.