Locating hope in performance: lessons from Edward Kabuye

  • Kathleen J. Noss-Van Buren Lecturer in Ethnomusicology in the Department of Music at the University of Sheffield


This article draws upon fieldwork in Nairobi, Kenya, and scholarly literature to consider the efficacy of music in communicating messages and promoting social change. I focus on the work of Nairobi-based Ugandan artist Edward Kabuye. Kabuye's projects reveal his approach to life: his creative thinking, his desire to address the problems facing the communities in which he lives, and his perseverance despite myriad challenges. Through performance, Kabuye seeks to persuade audience members to rethink the circumstances of their lives and to take positive action.


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The Talking Drums of Africa 1998 "Ayowei", Video recording provided courtesy of Edward Kabuye
2000 Message for our people, The Talking Drums of Africa
Various artists 2000 Festival Mundial: Één wereld, één toekomst, Alpi Productions, Mundial Productions BUMA/STEMRA

Kabuye, Edward 1996 Drumming, dance, and song lessons with the artist, Nairobi, June- August
2001 Email communication with artist, 31 January
2004a Interview with artist, Nairobi, 28 August
2004b Interview with artist, Nairobi, 29 August
2004c Interview with artist, Nairobi, 12 September
2006 Email communication with artist, 20 February
Kamau, Gathecha 2004 Interview with country coordinator for Youth Employment Summit Campaign Kenya, Nairobi, 4 May
Ochango, Abil 2004a Interview with artist, Nairobi, 10 August
2004b Interview with artist, Nairobi, 1 September
Wanda, Stella 2004 Interview with artist, Nairobi, 14 September
How to Cite
Noss-Van Buren, K. J. “Locating Hope in Performance: Lessons from Edward Kabuye”. African Music: Journal of the International Library of African Music, Vol. 8, no. 3, Nov. 2009, pp. 144-61, doi:https://doi.org/10.21504/amj.v8i3.1833.