Music Into Colour

Soundtrack for the True Colours exhibition at RaMoMA Gallery, Nairobi

Composers: Jim Pywell & Kagema Gichuhi

Guest Musician: Roseanne Kinyua



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Music Into Colour CD now available from RaMoMA Gallery, Upperhill Road, Nairobi, (price Ksh500).


Out of the Basket                  7:41    listen to clip (RealPlayer) Mp3

Music Into Colour (remix)   5:48    listen to clip (RealPlayer) Mp3

Coloursong                           2:29   

Colourdream                         18:37  listen to clip (RealPlayer) Mp3


CD cover image: Emily Odongo untitled

Music Into Colour is a commission from RaMoMA (Rahimtulla Museum of Modern Art) to feature as part of its exhibition True Colours held in September 2005, and later transferred to the Alliance Francaise. 

The curator of True Colours, Pat Keay, identified 24 artists in Kenya whom she felt made colour the prime element in their work, or employed it to heighten mood or create tension in their paintings. A group of children from RaMoMA Gallery’s education programme helped in the random selection of a colour for each artist. The paintings in the exhibition are the artists’ responses to the colour given to them – an emotional response to the colour, a reaction against it, or simply a creation using tints, shades and variations of the colour.

“The brighter the colour, the higher the sound” – musicians often describe sounds in terms of brightness. Metal percussion sounds are usually bright (but less bright if they are farther away). The notes of the bassoon tend to be dark. The voices of humans and birds provide everything across the whole spectrum – especially if you ask the birds to speak very slowly.

As a starting point for creating the music, four of the artists exhibiting in True Colours were interviewed about their work and about the relationship between sound and colour. The result was a composite text that became a poem, a story, a song, a quotation, a comment, a suggestion, a soundscape, a rhythm... all about colour.

The resulting soundtrack included a short piece for three musicians and tape, performed live at the exhibition opening, and a longer piece for tape, to be played at regular intervals for the duration of the exhibition.

These pieces have subsequently been made into a CD featuring the work of Kenyan artist Emily Odongo as part of the sleeve design. A DVD featuring the music and the paintings may be created at a later date.

To listen to excerpts from other works, visit the listening page.