Papillion is among the first musicians in recent times to look at African musical instruments with an eye to redesign, combine and upgrade them for a new musical experience. For instance, he has taken an 8-string lyre, which is played in one version or another in countries along the Nile River and set it inside a calabash resonator (similar to those found in the “Kora” of the Sahel ) along with two “Kalimbas” (finger pianos) which are played throughout Africa. This ingenious invention allows him to play two different instruments at the same time. His interest in traditional musical instruments is partially the result of time he spent under the tutelage of another East African musician who created musical history and achieved world fame by playing traditional musical instruments, the legendary Ayub Ogada.
Although Papillion is quite young, he is not really new to the music scene of Africa. A decade ago, as a child named Martin Murimi, he joined a Kenyan group called “Jua Kali Drummers”, a phenomenal group of young percussionists that traveled to Europe and other parts of the world. When the group morphed into the famous “Slum Drummers”, Papillion took over as the assistant manager under an Italian musical director, named Giovanni lo Cascio.` From a poor rural background, Papillion endured a hard early life, and, as a street boy , found salvation in music and art. Besides being a prize-winning percussionist, he is an accomplished artist.
Now Papillion is ready to spread his musical wings in flight, preparing his first major album. With his soaring voice and haunting melodies, coupled with a litany of African instruments, many of his own making, Papillion is a musical force to be reckoned with. He has formed a group of versatile and diverse musicians, including an Indian Tabla drummer, a flutist, a pianist and of course percussionists playing everything from cowbells to steel drums. This group will accompany Papillion on his quest to take back traditional music, much of which was lost during the colonization of Africa and other parts of the world, and his attempt to build a new musical dynasty on old African roots.
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