Popular music is an important part of Nairobi ' s cultural life. Many musicians sing in Kenyan languages, such as Luo, Kamba, Luhyia, and Kikuyu. Other pop musicians, some from neighboring countries, sing in Swahili. Pop music in Nairobi is heavily influenced by the benga beat, which originated in western Kenya among the Luo people. Music from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania are also major influences. Gospel and choir are popular musical genres. Choral music concerts, organized by the Nairobi music society, can often be heard at All Saints Cathedral. Visiting jazz and classical musicians occasionally hold concerts at the Kenya National Theater.
Drama and plays are very important forms of expression. In Nairobi, two resident theater companies offer performances. One is the Kenya National Theater, located across from the Norfolk Hotel and next to the University of Nairobi. The other is called the Professional Center and is located on Parliament Road in the city center. Kenyatta University and the University of Nairobi have amateur theater groups that stage performances. Nairobi hosts the national school drama and music competitions at the Kenyatta Conference Center. These competitions, which start at the local level and culminate in the national finals, generate a great deal of national interest.