Anyango (Eriko Mukoyama)

Bio

Anyango is the stage name of Eriko Mukoyama. She is a musician who plays the nyatiti, a traditional Luo instrument. She broke new ground as she became the world's first female nyatiti player.

Anyango was born in Tokyo in 1981. Her interest in music started from when she took up the piano at age four. In Junior High school she formed a band with her friends and they continued to play together until 2001 when she decided to learn more about music in New York City.

In 2001, she boarded a plane for New York to pursue her dream to study music. Unfortunately her plane was forced to return to Japan, since that day happened to be September 11th. Incidentally, she went to the Kenyan traditional music concert in Tokyo, which changed her life. At this time she was exposed to a variety of African instruments, which inspired her to play and sing African music.

She quickly joined this African band called 'Burukenge' and spent a year touring around Japan. Her adventure in African music continued in Kenya where she encountered the Nyatiti.

Nyatiti is a traditional instrument of the Luo tribe in Kenya. Its size is about twice as small as an acoustic guitar with eight strings. It produces a lyrical sound, yet it is quite difficult to play. There are three aspects of playing the Nyatiti; percussion, strings, and vocal.

Although it wasn't easy to learn to play the nyatiti especially as a woman, since it is traditionally viewed as a male only instrument, Anyango did not give up. She tried to master it until she became the first world renowned female nyatiti player. Her master gave her the name Anyango, which means 'a girl born in the morning'.

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Profile added by Stanley Gazemba on 10 Sep 2014
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