Verbal interjections and the making of Awillo Mike as a social representation of “lived lives and storied lives” in live music performance in Kenya

  • Eric Masese
Keywords: Culture, Language, Lived Experiences, Social Representation


Most studies on narratives in popular music focus on the form and content of the stories that are told in the song lyrics. Little studied are the verbal interjections that one observes in the live performance of popular music, which also constitute narratives. Using data obtained through participant observation and informal discussions on the performance of the Kenyan artiste Awilo Mike, who is one of the leaders of Eldoret-based Orchestra Ja-Mnazi Africa Band- Kenya, this paper argues that the ability to deploy verbal interjections in a manner that redefines an audience’s subjectivity and bring them in line with the performer's physical and emotional realities transforms an artiste into a social representation of experiences deemed significant by the audience. Such a transformation both proves the effectiveness of an artiste's performance and accounts for his or her popular acceptance.