It was a great pleasure to host Kenyan music ambassador Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno in the studio this week, along with guitarist and collaborator Nathan Okite. Rapasa has been stateside touring Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado as part of the One Beat program, a cultural mashup sponsored by the US State Department. He’s ending his US visit with a few shows in DC along with Cheick Hamala Diabate & Jabali Afrika. We chatted about Rapasa’s journey to a life defined by music, his grandmother’s early influence and his search for teachers. We discussed the importance of cultivating traditional instrument makers along with players, politics in Kenyan music, songwriting process, how he and Nathan collaborate, and many parts between.
We were delighted to have Rapasa play a song each on nyatiti [8:28] and obokano [24:00], both long, stringed harps with wooden body and skin head, and to preview two really excellent, unreleased tracks from Rapasa and Nathan’s upcoming album “Tipuna.” Beautiful sounds all around, and great spirits behind them. Many thanks to Jabali Afrika for making the connection! Check out Rapasa’s website for more information, and stay tuned to our Jolly Papa YouTube channel for some studio out-takes from our session with Cheick Hamala Diabate later that night….
[Click play to hear our interview w/ Rapasa & Nathan – November 15, 2017]