Empowering Youth Through Music: Recap of the National Music Festivals

One of the teams performing live on stage during the 95th National Music Festivals in Dedan Kimathi University recently. PHOTO/Courtesy.
One of the teams performing live on stage during the 95th National Music Festivals in Dedan Kimathi University recently. PHOTO/Courtesy.
  • The music industry has always been a dynamic space, evolving with each new generation of artists. 
  • From lyrics that discussed mental health challenges to compositions that championed environmental consciousness, the festivals demonstrated how music can be a powerful catalyst for change.
  • The connections forged, lessons learned, and memories created during these events will undoubtedly shape the journeys of these young artists. 

In a harmonious celebration of creativity, talent, and the boundless energy of youth, the recently concluded national music festivals held at Dedan Kimathi University of Science and Technology (DeKUT), captured the essence of empowerment and growth. 

This 95th Annual National Music Festival, meticulously curated to showcase and uplift the nation’s young talents, provided a platform for budding musicians from junior secondary, senior secondary, and primary schools to shine while fostering an environment of inspiration, collaboration, and artistic development.

The audience following the event. PHOTO/Courtesy.

The music industry has always been a dynamic space, evolving with each new generation of artists. 

Recognizing the importance of nurturing emerging talent, the organizers of these national music festivals embarked on a journey to create an event that was more than just a spectacle; it was a transformative experience.

The festival featured music genres like chants, elocutions, public speaking, and dances, among other items. 

This was the climax of the music competition that had begun from the zonal levels to now national levels. 

Schools from across all the Kenyan counties were represented in the competition.

Diverse showcasing of talent

The festivals featured a breathtaking array of musical genres, from soul-stirring classical compositions to foot-tapping contemporary beats. 

The adjudication panel follows the procedings during the event. PHOTO/Courtesy.

This diversity not only highlighted the rich cultural tapestry of the nation but also allowed young artists to explore various musical styles, pushing the boundaries of their creativity. 

Whether it was a passionate rendition of a classical raga or a fresh take on electronic dance music, the festivals encouraged participants to experiment, innovate, and discover their unique musical voices.

Mentorship and collaboration

One of the defining features of these festivals was the emphasis on mentorship and collaboration. 

Esteemed musicians and industry professionals were actively involved in guiding the young artists, sharing insights from their own journeys and providing valuable feedback. 

This interaction with seasoned professionals not only boosted the confidence of the youth but also opened doors to potential future collaborations.

Collaborative performances were a testament to the power of shared creativity. 

Fusion ensembles combining traditional and modern instruments left audiences in awe, showcasing the beautiful synergy that arises when different genres intersect. 

Senior secondary team performing in one of the music genres. PHOTO/Courtesy.

These collaborations underscored the importance of breaking down barriers and embracing diversity, both in music and in society.

Empowerment through expression

Music has always been a medium through which emotions find their truest expression. 

For the youth, it serves as a vehicle to articulate their thoughts, beliefs, and aspirations. 

The national music festivals provided a safe space for young artists to address important social issues and convey their perspectives on a broader scale. 

The organizers of the music festivals achieved this by giving the rules of the competitions and themes to be captured in the articles through the issued music festival syllabus. 

From lyrics that discussed mental health challenges to compositions that championed environmental consciousness, the festivals demonstrated how music can be a powerful catalyst for change.

A springboard for growth

Beyond the applause and cheers from the audience, these festivals were stepping stones toward personal and professional growth. 

One of the junior secondary school teams in performance. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Workshops and masterclasses, conducted by experts in various aspects of the music industry, offered participants a chance to hone their technical skills and gain a deeper understanding of the business side of music. 

Topics ranged from songwriting and production techniques to marketing and branding strategies, equipping the youth with tools to navigate the ever-evolving music landscape. 

As the competition drew to a close, winners of various genres were awarded trophies and certificates and also other teams that took part were awarded certificates of participation.

Among the best performers per genre: 1019J (English choral verse speaking)-Bamburi primary from Coast region; 1019 Junior Secondary-Githunguri Township;

1020JS English choral verse speaking-Githunguri Township; 1020H-Kakamega Primary from Western region;

1031H-Little Friends from Rift Valley region; 1032H-Moses Mudavadi Primary from Western region; 1035H-Nyali School from Coast region;

A cultural performance preparation. PHOTO/Courtesy.

1044H-Kagema Primary from Central region and the best overall primary school in English elocution was Kagema Primary School from Central.

Cultivating a lasting impact

As the curtains fell on the national music festivals, the reverberations of empowerment continued to resonate. 

The connections forged, lessons learned, and memories created during these events will undoubtedly shape the journeys of these young artists. 

Beyond the spotlight, the festivals’ true legacy lies in the lasting impact they will have on the participants’ growth, fostering a generation of artists who are not only skilled but also socially aware and compassionate.

In a world where the potential of the youth often goes unnoticed, these festivals stood as beacons of hope, proving that with the right platform and nurturing, young talent can flourish and make meaningful contributions to society. 

The just-completed national music festivals have showcased the youth’s artistic prowess and set the stage for a future where music is a force for positive change and empowerment.

They are a pillar for the future of the Kenyan and world music industry. 

The Ministry of Education and other stakeholders ensured that this festival served as a ground for building on the future of the youths not only through academics but also through talents like music and poetry.

The government should continue supporting talents by scouting them from such events and nurturing them for a prosperous future that does not rely only on academics but creates incomes from other avenues like talents.

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Congratulations to all the teams that finished top and to those that didn’t emerge top, keep rehearsing, and wins will emerge.

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Mr. Nehemiah has interests in writing about culture and art, education and literature. His contact: josephatnehemiah75@gmail.com

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