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The obokano (also spelled obukano) is a large bass bowl lyre from Kenya. It is used by the Gusii ethnic group. The instrument is made from a skin of a cow or goat and a bowl like structure curved out of a wood stump. It consists of eight strings whose tensions can be adjusted to produce different tones. Musicians who play the Obokano are; Ontiri Bikundo, Dismus Nyang'au, Onyoni Sakawa , Grandmaster Masese and Ratai Arati amongst others.


  • Hyslop, Graham. "Some Musical Instruments of Kenya." African Arts, vol. 5, no. 4 (Summer 1972), pp. 48-55.
  • Varnum, John P. "The Obokano of the Gusii: A Bowl Lyre of East Africa." Ethnomusicology, vol. 15, no. 2. (May 1971), pp. 242-248.


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