Luo people of Kenya and Tanzania
Dennis Oliech, Barack Obama, Sr., Raila Odinga, Johnny Oduya, Orwa Ojode
|about 6 million in Kenya & Tanzania|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Kenya, Eastern Uganda, and Northern Tanzania|
Christianity and Islam
|Related ethnic groups|
|person||Jaluo (m)/ Nyaluo (f)|
|country||Pinj Luo/ Lolwe|
The Luo (also called Joluo, singular Jaluo) are an ethnic group in western Kenya, eastern Uganda, and in Mara Region in northern Tanzania. They are part of a larger group of ethnolinguistically related Luo peoples who inhabit an area ranging from Southern Sudan (South Sudan), South-Western Ethiopia, Northern and Eastern Uganda, South-Western Kenya and North-Eastern Tanzania.
The Luo are the third largest ethnic group (13%) in Kenya, after the Kikuyu (22%) and the Luhya (14%). The Luo and the Kikuyu inherited the bulk of political power in the first years following Kenya's independence in 1963. The Luo population in Kenya was estimated to be 3,185,000 in 1994 and 4.6 million in 2010. The Tanzanian Luo population was estimated at 280,000 in 2001 and 800,000 in 2010.
The main Luo livelihoods are fishing, farming and pastoral herding. Outside Luoland, the Luo comprise a significant fraction of East Africa's intellectual and skilled labour force in various professions. Others members work in eastern Africa as tenant fishermen, small scale farmers, and urban workers.
They speak the Dholuo language, which belongs to the Western Nilotic branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family spoken by other Luo-speaking peoples, such as the Lango, Acholi, Adhola and Alur (all of Uganda and parts of Sudan and Eastern Congo). The four waves of Luo migration were chiefly from the four Luo-speaking groups (Lwoo), especially Acholi and Padhola. Dholuo, spoken in Kenya, is considered to be proper and standard Luo because it contains elements from all other Lwoo languages. It is estimated that Dholuo has 90% lexical similarity with Lep Alur (Alur language); 83% with LepAchol (Acholi language); 81% with Lango language, 93% with Dhopadhola (Padhola language), 74% with Anuak, and 69% with Jurchol(Luwo) & Pari.
The Luo are the originators of a number of interesting music styles, such as Benga.
Pre-colonial times 
The Luo of Kenya descend from early fishing, agricultural and herding communities from western Kenya's early pre-colonial history. The Luo people and dialects of their language have historic roots across the Lake Victoria region. Chief among the powerful families to which the Luo trace their ancestry were the Sahkarias of Kano, the Jaramogis of Ugenya, and the Owuors of Kisumu, whose clans married several wives and had multitudes of grandchildren and heirs to various chieftainships. Leaders of these lineages typically had multiple wives and intermarried with their neighbours in Uganda and Sudan. The Luo, through intermarriages and wars, are part of the genetic admixture that includes all modern East African ethnic groups, as well as members of the Buganda, Bunyoro, and Toro kingdoms, and the Nubians of modern-day Sudan.
The Luo had many ethnic neighbours with whom they frequently inter-related, including the Nandi, Luhya, Kipsigis and the Kisii. As a result, treaties and intermarriages were accomplished, resulting in a mixture of inter-cultural ideals and practices. As is the case with all ethnic groups of modern day East Africa, Luo history is intricately interwoven with the histories of their neighbours, attesting to the complexity of East African precolonial history.
The Luo probably originated at Wau in southern Sudan, near the confluence of the Meride and Sue rivers. The Kenya Luo migrated into western Kenya via today's eastern Uganda, the first wave arriving sometime around 1500 AD. Arrivals came in at least five waves arriving at different times:
- The Joka-Jok (who migrated from Acholiland, the first and largest migration) comprise the JoKarachuonyo, JoMumbo, JoNyakach, JoKanyada, and JoKadem among others
- Those migrating from Alur joined the Joka-Jok
- The Jo-K'Owiny (who migrated from Padhola) include JoSakwa, JoUyoma, JoSeme, JoAsembo, JoKajulu, and JoKisumo among others
- The Jok’Omolo (perhaps from Pawir) arrived later, including the JoAlego, JoUgenya, JoGem, and JoYimbo.
- The Abasuba (a heterogeneous group in southern Nyanza, with Bantu from Buganda and Busoga]) were assimilated into groups such as JoKaksingri, JoKasgwanga, JoGwassi, and JoKamasengre among others.
The present-day Kenya Luo traditionally consist of 26 sub-groups, each in turn composed of various clans and sub-clans ( "Jo-" indicates "people of".):
- Jo-Mumbo(including Jo-Kasipul & Jo-Kabondo-both descendants of Rachuonyo)
- Jo-Kadem/ Jo-Karungu
- Abasuba (comprises its own subclans, which are invariably called Jo-Chula i.e. people from Mfangano, Rusinga, Remba, Takawiri islands;Jo-Gwassi; Jo-Kaksingri; Jo-Muhuru etc.)
- Jo-Suna (a group that was formerly Bantu but has assimilated fully into Luo. Some people classify them under the Luo Suba clan)
By the 1840s, the Luo had a tight-knit society with leadership from Ruodhi, or regional chiefs.
Colonial times 
Early British contact with the Luo was indirect and sporadic. Relations intensified only when the completion of the Uganda Railway had confirmed British intentions and largely removed the need for local alliances. In 1896 a punitive expedition was mounted in support of the Wanga ruler Mumia in Ugenya against the Umira Kager clan led by Gero. Over 200 were quickly killed by a Maxim gun.
By 1900, the Luo chief Odera was providing 1,500 porters for a British expedition against the Nandi.
In 1915, the Colonial Government sent Odera Akang'o, the ruoth of Gem, to Kampala, Uganda. He was impressed by the British settlement there and upon his return home he initiated a forced process of adopting western styles of "schooling, dress and hygiene". This resulted in the rapid education of the Luo in the English language and English ways.
The Luo generally were not dispossessed of their land by the British, avoiding the fate that befell the pastoral ethnic groups inhabiting the Kenyan "White Highlands". Many Luo played significant roles in the struggle for Kenyan independence, but the people were relatively uninvolved in the Mau Mau Uprising of the 1950s. Instead, some Luo used their education to advance the cause of independence peacefully. The lawyer C.M.G. Argwings-Kodhek, for example, used his expertise to defend Mau Mau suspects in court, although they had attacked not only whites, but also the men of other ethnic groups.
Independent Kenya 
Kenya became independent on 12 December 1963. Oginga Odinga, a prominent Luo leader, declined the presidency of Kenya, preferring to assume the vice presidency with Jomo Kenyatta as the head of government. Their administration represented the Kenya African National Union (KANU) party. However, differences with Jomo Kenyatta caused Oginga to defect from the party and abandon the vice presidency in 1966. His departure caused the Luo to become politically marginalized under the Kenyatta and subsequently the Moi administrations.
In Tanzania, Mwalimu J.K. Nyerere had personally sought to work with Hellon Ang'iela Owino of Shirati, Tanzania, as a trusted and vibrant political aide who was never ashamed of eloquently speaking his mind whenever needed. Mr. Owino was well known among the front bench politicians who exchanged fists with the then Oscar Kambona and Bhoke Munanka, whom he claimed were betraying Nyerere behind his agreed official prayers. Owino (1930s-1988) was frequently sent many times by Nyerere (through Jaramogi Oginga A. Odinga) to mend relations with Kenya and was in particular the one who passed information (from Oginga, who was his friend) to Nyerere on Kenyatta's mission to take Zanzibar Isles. Kenyatta had planned to take and own Pemba isle as his private residence and Unguja could have been given to the British Government as their East Afican stategic security hub so as to calm down their badly torn relations caused by the Mau Mau war.
Many years of marginalization and disastrous economic management in Kenya, particularly under the KANU party's administration of the nascent state, had tragic consequences for the people of Kenya. despite the economic potential of nearby Lake Victoria. Kenya continues to struggle with poverty and AIDS today.
The most prominent Luo politician today is Raila Odinga, the son of Oginga Odinga and former Minister of Roads and Public Works. He is widely credited with enabling Mwai Kibaki to win the 2002 presidential election through the support of his Liberal Democratic Party. Other prominent politicians include James Orengo, Professor Anyang' Nyong'o, Peter Oloo-Aringo, Dalmas Otieno amongst others. Dr. PLO Lumumba who is the former Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission director is also a Luo.
Culture and customs 
Religious customs 
Like many ethnic communities in Uganda, including the Baganda, Langi, Acholi, and Alur, the Luo do not practice the ritual circumcision of males as initiation. Instead, children formerly had their six lower front teeth removed at an initiation. This ritual has largely fallen out of use and many have come to the practice of circumcision at birth.]]
In 1907, Johanna Owalo formed the first African independent church in Kenya called Nomiya or "the mission i was given". Nomiya church is a mixture of Christian, Islam and traditional African religious doctrines. The church practices circumcision for male children at the age of 8 days and they pray facing north. The church currently has a following of 800,000 in the Nyanza region. Other local churches include Legio Maria, Roho and Fwenya among others.
Kinship and Family 
From: Land and embedded rights: An analysis of land conflicts in Luoland, Western Kenya Paul Hebinck & Nelson Mango
Charles Obudho and other old and well-respected men like him in Muhanda village in Siaya district insisted that if we wished to capture land rights we needed to investigate kinship and the way the Luo have settled over the years. Inheritance, he says, “may become confusing if one does not understand kinship relationships and the terminology used to describe the relationships of the persons involved”. Together they constructed in a few meetings an almost ideal typical version of customary rights to land. They began to explain that a (typical) Luo homestead (dala) consists of a site where the monogamous or polygamous domestic groups build their houses, in the surroundings of which they have their fields. The smallest social unit in the homestead is the “household”. A homestead consists of at least two generations, that of the father and the mother(s), and their offspring. Occasionally, households of brothers of the homestead’s owner also reside in the dala, as well as servants and “strangers” (see Figure 3.1). Several homesteads make up a gweng and resemble what we now recognize as villages or settlements. Residence in a village, as Southall (1952: 27) also noted, is based upon kinship – or more specifically people that descend from the same grandfather (Jokakwaro) – but also upon alliances developed out of strategic considerations (Cohen & Atieno-Odhiambo 1989: 14). The elementary social relationship is patrifocal, which cements the relationships between father, mother and their children. People refer to this as jokawuoro (“people of the same father”) who operate as one corporate group sharing and distributing most of the domestic activities. Marriage and inheritance of resources are intertwined and shaped by the normative respect of age (i.e. seniority). Seniority works out such that the eldest son has to marry first, then the second eldest, and so on in order of seniority; the same is true of the daughters.
When the father dies, the eldest son takes over the responsibilities of leadership of the family. An implication of the responsibility and prestige of genealogical seniority is that it puts the holder into the primary position of first harvesting (dwoko cham), first sowing (golo kodhi), as well as of eating specified parts of an animal killed, which are usually the best parts. The inheritance rights of daughters are limited to before their marriage. When married they leave the dala and loose the right to any wealth realized. If Luo society were composed only of this line of groupings, the study would have been much easier. The complication arises when one considers a polygamous homestead, which is composed of a plurality of matrifocal units (jokamiyo). Polygamy shapes the mothers’ marital relationships with a common husband. The Luo commonly refer to the relationship between such matrifocal units as nyiego. Nyiego means “jealousy” when it refers to the relationship between the co-wives, and means “rivalry” when it involves all in a matrifocal unit as a group against another, opposing group. Jokadayo, “the people of the same grandmother” denotes the matrifocal unit that combines a mother and her sons in the second generation. At this level, the rivalry and competitive relationships between the co-wives and their sons starts fading. The position of the grandfather becomes important. Beyond the grandmother and grandfather line, at the third and up to the fifth generation, the keyo appears as a next organizational form. People descending from the same great-grandfather constitute a keyo. They form the first organized council to arbitrate land and boundary disputes between members of their keyo. Social control of the community is here exercised partly through the authority of these elders and in the past partly and certainly through their control over the means of accumulation. The migration of their sons and daughters to towns has changed the role of the elders considerably, but when it comes to land the elders still maintain a large degree of authority. A next level in the lineage is the libamba, which involves descendants of a common ancestor, usually from four to seven generations back. It is a maximal lineage of landholding co-operating agnates and generally considered by anthropologists as the backbone for settlement, household and family formation, and social reproduction (see for instance Evans-Pritchard 1965, Southall 1952, Parkin 1978). Its members characteristically meet often at the keyo level to discuss the distribution of land titles, land conflicts and other property disputes. The study of Luo economic structure is most conveniently in terms of the operation of the libamba units, because these units define maximal frameworks for economic, social and political competition. According to Ochola-Ayayo (1976: 121) “the Luo sum up in the libamba all those forces of friction and competition, which weaken the solidarity of a lineage segment and lead to its further subdivision”. Thereafter, the next level is the clan (dhoot). Land conflicts in Luoland, Kenya 45 Luo customary land tenure arrangements The Luo acquire land rights in several ways. Charles Obudho explains that rights to land derive from being a member of the clan. Secondly, the clan also used to grant access to land to strangers and also slaves and servants were in the past given rights to access land. Finally, roughly since the late 1940s, land can also be purchased. Given that the land conflict cases this article explores in detail all deal with land that is accessed through customary inheritance arrangements, the buying and selling of land is not documented. Land allocated to clansmen The basic right to access land stems from being a member of a tribe in a given territory for which lineage or clan members and their ancestors fought, and that is “once acquired by conquest” (Wilson 1961: 18). This represents the strongest claim to land in Luo territory: Every member of a clan has an inalienable right to cultivate a garden within the territory of his grandfather. This right is normative because it is associated with lineage membership.12 This is important socially, because it provides a sense of security, which springs from living among kinsfolk. It is economically important as well, because a clan member is entitled to occupy such land on terms of correct usage without payment, except customary dues to land-controlling elders. Natural boundaries well define the land that belongs to the clan, and the natural landscape of ridges and valleys aids this demarcation. One clan usually occupies a ridge or part of a ridge. This now is the area in which a man from that clan may expect to obtain a right to cultivate and to raise stock. Formally, the land belongs to the head of the homestead. He in his turn allocates land to his wife or wives and keeps that part of the field closest to the gate for himself. Father’s field is commonly known as the mondo. Before they establish their own compounds, sons work on their mothers’ field(s). Below we will discuss how sons inherit land. Land allocated to strangers A jadak (stranger) is the person who comes to the area of a clan other than his own and asks for land. According to Luo tradition, it is difficult to refuse a stranger the land he requests to provide for his subsistence. It is this tradition that allows people to live among tribes or clans other than their own. Friendship, or maternal or affinal connections, qualify one to ask for land which is given in usufruct. In any case, the council of elders must approve such a transaction. The lands given to a stranger are usually within the territory of the clan. In return, the stranger must show solidarity and allegiance to the clan members. The stranger and his descendants have no right of inheritance; his children can only renew the usufruct right. The length of usufruct is indefinite, and this has led to many misunderstandings by the colonial and current government administration, and still complicates many land cases today. The jodak tradition dates back to the time when a rich man counted his security and prestige by the number of followers he could attract to his holding. It is fair to say that the Luo encouraged jodak to settle among them and, until recently, a jadak was not normally turned out of the land “given” to him, except in certain serious situations. According to some informants, the expression chiem gi wadu (”eat what you have with your neighbour”) is strongly associated with the Luo concept of jadak. If, on the other hand, the clan in which a jadak was a squatter was at war with another clan, and he had shown bravery on the battlefield, upgraded his position to that of landowner. He, after all, had fought for the land and had been prepared to sacrifice his life in the same way, as did the ancestor of the present member. The allocation of land to a jadak was not intended as an economic enterprise in a direct way, but as a means to achieve a higher status. The land was being valued as a source of wealth and as a means of subsistence, which may raise a person into an honorific, higher position. Land distribution was a vehicle for prestige and a means of protection. Land allocated to slaves Misumba is the word used to describe a servant or a foundling brought up as a foster child, or a slave in the proper sense of the word (Ochola-Ayayo 1976: 131). Under the first meaning of misumba, the homestead head assigns a child, or an adult man, to the house of a migumba as if he were her son. A woman is regarded a migumba if she has not had a male child. People expect a misumba to fill the social position of a male child in the house of the migumba, as if he were that woman’s actual son. In any case, a misumba inherits his foster mother’s gardens and livestock, but his position with regard to the inheritance of his foster father’s field (mondo) is like that of an illegitimate child. If the foster mother gives her misumba cattle to marry a wife, then he is expected to become a member of the clan, and his children will be members of this clan. If, however, he should one day decide to return to his original clan land, then not only does he lose the land, but so do his children and their mother. The children are regarded as the legal descendants of the social father, or as an informant put it: “their mother’s bride-wealth was clan wealth”. Land conflicts in Luoland, Kenya 47 The inheritance of land: Customary rights The way a father while still alive allocates land to his sons resembles the approach to land inheritance. The division of land between brothers or sons in a monogamous family is rather simple and straightforward. Land conflicts usually arise between nyiego groups. In the case of two or three sons of the same mother, the senior son takes the centre portion of the land in the homestead up to and beyond the gate or to the buffer zone; the other sons then have the remainder of the land to divide among themselves. If the land is divided among the elder sons after they are married, and they take to living on their lands, it often happens that the youngest son remains in the father’s compound to care for him in his old age. His inheritance is the mondo and the remaining gardens of his mother (Wilson 1961: 13, Ochola-Ayayo 1976: 129, Francis 2000). In the event of a father’s death, then whoever remarries his wife (indicated as jater) is the legal guardian of his fields and his children. A jater may take the widow to his village or may live in the village of the deceased. The widow will continue to cultivate her deceased husband’s land. The jater may also cultivate these lands on a usufruct basis but must vacate them if ordered to do so when the sons of the deceased have married and established their own homesteads. In most cases, a jater is a classificatory father to the children, and he will fulfil his obligations to the latter according to custom. Should a jater be a stranger, then it is the duty of the clan elders of the dead man’s lineage to watch him closely and see to it that the sons get the land of the deceased. The jater, whether relative or stranger, has no permanent right whatsoever to any of the dead man’s property; nor have the leviratic children (children born of the jater), unless there is no male heir. Once the eldest son has built his homestead, it becomes his duty to set up homesteads for his junior brothers. He should divide the land equally; or else the junior brothers may seek redress from the council of elders. The right of inheritance also depends on the presence of ancestral graves on the land (Shipton 1992: 377). Furthermore, if the ancestors conquered the land, a descendant can lay extra strong claims to it (Ogot 1967: 222). Land is inherited only through patrilineal relationships. A sole survivor of the grandfathers would then inherit all the grandfathers’ land. A brother only inherits land belonging to a full brother if the latter does not have a male descendant. The eldest of the group of brothers is the temporary owner of the father’s entire land, and acts as arbitrator in disputes between the younger brothers. Younger brothers can appeal to the council of elders. A man can only inherit land belonging to a paternal uncle if the uncle does not leave a son, or full or half-brothers. The unwritten rule of inheritance by the nearest agnatic kinsman operates throughout the clan, that is, if no heirs can be found from the father, grandfathers or great-grandfathers, then the nearest male relative to the deceased within his clan inherits. The sons, when they marry, share their mother’s land. A mother usually gives her sons part of her garden at that time, but unmarried sons inherit those fields remaining at their mother’s death. In the event that a man dies without a male heir, then his land reverts to his father or nearest agnatic kinsman, except that portion allocated to his wife or wives provided they remain within the lineage of the deceased. In the case of a man dying without a son and his wife having been unable to provide a male child through another relationship, she may “remarry” a girl, usually from her own clan, with the cattle of her dead husband or with her own cattle. She then calls a close agnatic kinsman of her deceased husband to cohabit with this girl to serve as genitor. Children of this union are the legal sons of the deceased husband, and they will inherit his remaining wealth: Land, cattle and other personal properties. This form of marriage is what anthropologists call “ghost marriage” (OchollaAyayo 1976: 131). Inheritance of land in a polygamous setting In polygamous settings, the land is divided along the same lines, except that, within the village, the sons claim the area contiguous to the houses of their mothers. Each wife and her sons constitute a group with similar rights as a son of a sole wife: Children of the senior wife are given that portion of the total area that would have been given to the senior son in a monogamous family. The sons of the second and third wives lay claim to those portions that would have fallen to the second and third sons, respectively, in a monogamous situation. There is, however, a further complicating factor and that concerns situations where there are more than three co-wives (perceived as attached daughters). These co-wives are attached to the first three sets. The sons of the senior wife inherit as a group with the sons of daughters attached to the senior wife; sons of daughters attached to the second wife and the sons of daughters attached to the third wife will also inherit as groups with the sons of the second and third wives respectively.
Marriage customs 
Historically, couples were introduced to each other by matchmakers, but this is not common now. Like many other communities in Kenya, marriage among the Luo at the moment is fast becoming westernized and people are moving away from the traditional way of doing things. The Luo frequently marry outside their ethnic group. The traditional marriage ceremony takes place in two parts, both involving the payment of a bride price by the groom. The first ceremony, the Ayie, involves a payment of money to the mother of the bride; the second stage involves giving cattle to her father. Often these two steps are carried out at the same time, and, as many modern Luos are Christians, a church ceremony often follows. If the husband should die during the marriage, it was customary (though now a largely unobserved custom) for the brother to act as a replacement.
Traditionally, music was the most widely practiced art in the Luo community. At any time of the day or night, some music was being made. Music was not made for its own sake. Music was functional. It was used for ceremonial, religious, political, or incidental purposes. Music was performed during funerals (Tero buru), to praise the departed, to console the bereaved, to keep people awake at night, to express pain and agony, and was also used during cleansing and chasing away of spirits. Music was also played during ceremonies like beer parties (Dudu, ohangla dance), welcoming back the warriors from a war, during a wrestling match (Olengo), during courtship, etc. Work songs also existed. These were performed both during communal work like building, weeding, etc. and individual work like pounding of cereals, or winnowing. Music was also used for ritual purposes like chasing away evil spirits (nyawawa), who visit the village at night, in rain making, and during divination and healing.
The Luo music was shaped by the total way of life, lifestyles, and life patterns of individuals of this community. Because of that, the music had characteristics which distinguished it from the music of other communities. This can be seen, heard, and felt in their melodies, rhythms, mode of presentation and dancing styles, movements, and formations.
The melodies in Luo music were lyrical, with a lot of vocal ornamentations. These ornaments came out clearly, especially when the music carried an important message. Their rhythms were characterized by a lot of syncopation and acrusic beginning. These songs were usually presented in solo-response style, although some were solo performances. The most common forms of solo performances were chants. These chants were recitatives with irregular rhythms and phrases, which carried serious messages. Most of the Luo dances were introduced by these chants. One example is the dudu dance.
Another unique characteristic in the Luo music is the introduction of yet another chant at the middle of a musical performance. The singing stops, the pitch of the musical instruments go down and the dance becomes less vigorous as an individual takes up the performance is self-praise. This is referred to as Pakruok. There was also a unique kind of ululation, Sigalagala, that marked the climax of the musical performance. Sigalagala was mainly done by women.
The dance styles in the Luo folk music were elegant and graceful. They involved either the movement of one leg in the opposite direction with the waist in step with the syncopated beats of the music or the shaking of the shoulders vigorously, usually to the tune of the nyatiti, an eight-stringed instrument.
Adamson (1967) commented that Luos clad in their traditional costumes and ornaments deserve their reputation as the most picturesque people in Kenya. During most of their performances, the Luo wore costumes and decorated themselves not only to appear beautiful, but also to enhance their movements. These costumes included sisal skirts (owalo), beads (Ombulu / tigo) worn around the neck and waist, and red or white clay worn by the ladies. The men's costumes included kuodi or chieno, a skin worn from the shoulders or from the waist respectively to cover their nakedness, Ligisa, the headgear, shield and spear, reed hats, and clubs, among others. All these costumes and ornaments were made from locally available materials.
The Luo were also rich in musical instruments which ranged from percussion (drums, clappers, metal rings, ongeng'o or gara, shakers), strings (e.g., nyatiti, a type of lyre; orutu, a type of fiddle), wind (tung' a horn,Asili, a flute, A bu-!, to a specific type of trumpet).
Currently the Luo are associated with the benga style of music. It is a lively style in which songs in Dholuo, Swahili, or English are sung to a lively guitar riff. It originated in the 1950s with Luo musicians trying to adapt their traditional dance rhythms to western instruments. The guitar (acoustic, later electric) replaced the nyatiti as the string instrument. Benga has become so popular that it is played by musicians of all ethnicities and is no longer considered a purely Luo style. It has become Kenya's characteristic pop sound.
Luo singer and nyatiti player Ayub Ogada received widespread exposure in 2005 when two of his songs were featured in Alberto Iglesias' Academy Award-nominated score for Fernando Mereilles' film adaptation of The Constant Gardener.
Other Luo musical greats in various genres are Daniel Owino Misiani, Amolo Kong'o, Ouma Omore, Ogwang' Lelo Ogoya Nengo, Olith Ratego, Hellen-Akoth Mtawali, Achieng' Abura, Iddi Achieng', Hellon, Dan Chizi Aceda, GidiGidiMajiMaji, JuaCali, Big Pin, George Ramogi, Collella Mazee, Musa Juma, John Junior, Osogo Winyo, Tony Nyadundo, Jack Nyadundo, Nina Ogot, Steve Nyabwa, Osito Kalle, Odongo Mayaka, Poxy Presha, Shirati Jazz band, Dolla Kabarry, Ochieng' Kabaselleh, Limpopo International Band, Onyi Papa Jey, Sal Davies, Atomy Sifa, Omollo K'Odingo,((Lady Maureen)),Pete Odera
List of prominent Luos or people of Luo descent 
- Oginga Odinga- Kenya's first Vice president,Freedom fighter,one of the founders of the pro-democracy movements
- Milton Obote-Led uganda to independence,first Ugandan Prime Minister,First Ugandan president
- Tom Mboya-Prominent Kenyan politician,Trade unionist,Responsible for mass airlifts to send kenyan scholars for further studies abroad,First Kenyan on Time magazine's cover
- Justice Joyce Aluoch-First Kenya International Criminal Court (ICC) Judge
- Barack Obama Sr- Father to Barack Obama the 44th President of the U.S.A, Recipient of the Tom Mboya airlifts
- Raila Odinga-Son of Oginga Odinga,Prodemocracy activist,Second prime minister of Kenya,Prominent Politician
- Robert Ouko-Prominent politician
- Prof. Walter Jaoko - Prominent HIV/AIDS researcher
- James Orengo-Prominent Lawyer,Prominent Politician
- Argwings Kodhek-Prominent pre-independence and Post Independence Lawyer , known for defending Mau Mau freedom fighters in colonial courts
- Evans Kidero-First Nairobi governor,Prominent Businessman,Prominent Politician
- S.M Otieno- Prominent Lawyer#Prof. Jeckonia Ndinya-Achola- Prolific HIV/AIDS researcher
- Florence Simbiri-Jaoko - Former Chair, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
- Anyang Nyongo-Prominent Intellectual,Prominent Politician
- Dennis Oliech-Professional Kenyan footballer,Plays in the french football first Division
- Juliani(Julius Owino)-Prominent Kenyan Gospel artist
- Jua Kali(Paul Julius Nunda)- Prominent Kenyan musician
- Grace Ogot-famous Kenyan author
- Patrick Lumumba-Prominent lawyer and Former Constitution of Kenya Review commission Secretary
- Hon Grace Onyango-the first woman Mayor in Kenya
- Bethwell Allan Ogot-Historian.
- Major Gen. Daniel Ishamael Opande-United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone Force Commander (October 1993 – May 1995)
- Rev. Isaac Ajuang' Simbiri-Veteran AIC pastor and Bible teacher
- Dr. Joseph Amolo Aluoch- Emminent Consultant Physician and Chest Specialist
Luos of Kenya are considered to be excellent athletes and dominate football, rugby, rowing, swimming, basketball, weightlifting, bodybuilding, hockey, karate, judo, wrestling etc. The most popular sports club is Gor Mahia football club which has a fanatical following.
See also 
- Legio Maria, a large religious group originating in Luoland
- Gordon, Jr., Raymond G. (editor) (2005). Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth Edition. Dallas, Texas, USA: SIL International. ISBN 978-1-55671-159-6.
- Ogot, Bethwell A. (1967). History of the Southern Luo: Volume I, Migration and Settlement, (Series: Peoples of East Africa). East African Publishing House, Nairobi. p. assim.
- Energy Old - Renewable Energy for Development
- UN chief calls on Kenya rivals to stop violence, The Age, 31 January 2008
- As Kenya descends into anarchy, there's no sign of an end of the tribal bloodshed, Daily Mail, 4 February 2008
- Herbich, Ingrid. "The Luo." In Encyclopedia of World Cultures Supplement, C. Ember, M. Ember and I. Skoggard (eds.), pp. 189–194. New York: Macmillan Reference, 2002
- Ogot, Bethwell A., History of the Southern Luo: Volume I, Migration and Settlement, 1500-1900, (Series: Peoples of East Africa), East African Publishing House, Nairobi, 1967
- Senogazake, George, Folk Music of Kenya, ISBN 9966-855-56-4
- Godfrey Mwakikagile, Ethnic Politics in Kenya and Nigeria, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., Huntington, New York, 2001; Godfrey Mwakikagile, Kenya: Identity of A Nation, New Africa Press, Pretoria, South Africa, 2008.
- vincent marlowa(actor