A critical analysis of thematic concerns in Ronald Ontiri Onchuru’s popular music
Keywords:cultural tolerance, healing, popular music, social cohesion, self-expression, social phenomenon
It has been argued that music plays a pivotal role in shaping societies and cultures across the world. Music is considered an essential aspect of human civilization and has the power to influence the political, social, moral, and cultural fabrics in society. At the core of our everyday experience with music, we use it to relax, express ourselves, come to terms with our emotions, and generally improve our well-being. Thus, music has evolved into a tool for healing and self-expression, often dictating how we, as individuals, take steps to impact society. Based on this realization, this article examined how Ontiri Bikundo deploys style in his popular music to foreground particular thematic concerns among the Abagusii community. Ronald Ontiri Bikundo is one of the popular musicians among the Abagusii of western Kenya. The study was premised on the understanding that music is one of the tools available to any creative artist in articulating issues affecting society. Consequently, it sought to identify and analyze various thematic concerns in Bikundo’s purposively sampled popular songs. This article reveals that Bikundo brings to the fore various issues including HIV/AIDS, hard work, love, and moral decadence in the Abagusii society. The article shows that Bikundo uses popular music to advocate for change, urge for cultural tolerance and promote social cohesion in society. The article concludes that music is a social phenomenon and medium by which we not only shape our environment but impact on society.
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