Nyokabi Kariũki

Nyokabi Kariũki (she/her) is a Kenyan composer based between Kenya and the USA. Her sonic imagination is ever-evolving, across genres including classical and experimental music, sound art, film, and (East) African musical traditions. She performs with the piano, voice, electronics, and traditional African instruments. She has received commissions from BBC Radio 3 and more. Her debut EP, ‘peace places: kenyan memories’, was described as “transcendent” (The Guardian), with Bandcamp highlighting her as “becoming a crucial voice in contemporary composition and experimental music.” Kariũki seeks to create meaningful, challenging art, with a commitment to preserving African thought, language and stories.

During my time at HIAP, I’ll be creating a longform experimental sound work engaging with multiple languages of my Kenyan heritage and using this multilingualism as a launchpad to explore the complexities of post-colonial African identity. The work centers myself as a writer and performer on voice, body percussion and electronics, positioning language and sound design to inquire about both the discomfort, and fascination, with hybridity in postcolonial African identity, and how these new hybrid forms take on new life. The work will be presented in the form of an album, and a live performance of the work.

Nyokabi Kariũki’s residency is one of the Uniarts Helsinki Research Pavilion #5 residencies, a collaboration between HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme, Saari Residence and Uniarts Helsinki.