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Nyokabi Kariuki

peace places: kenyan memories

SA053
Release Notes
  • A Limited Edition Run of 300
  • Ice Blue Vinyl
  • Bespoke paintings/artwork by Naila Aroni
  • Galu painting insert
  • Painting Photography: Nala Ayieta
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Nyokabi Kariũki (b. 1998, she/her) is a Kenyan composer and performer based between Maryland, New York, and Nairobi. Her sonic imagination is ever-evolving, with compositions ranging from classical contemporary & experimental music, to film, choral, pop, and explorations into sound art, electronics, and (East) African musical traditions. She embraces the title of composer-performer often, possessing a wealth of performance experience as not only a classically-trained pianist of 16+ years, but also as a vocalist and most recently as a player of several instruments from the African continent, including the mbira and djembe. Her art seeks to bridge her diverse influences — from her penchant for experimentation & improvisation, to her African upbringing and Western classical training — together into a mélange of accessible, evocative, and meaningful art.

Nyokabi on the EP:

I wrote ‘peace places: kenyan memories’ while away from home, Kenya, in the United States, during the pandemic. I found that imagining peaceful, gentle, memories from my 18 years of a childhood in Kenya became an earnest antidote to remedy homesickness and emotional fatigue — and almost naturally, these imaginations evoked a very visceral and creative response within me.

From my childhood home in Nairobi, where my piano, gifted to me at age 8, still sits; to my father’s hometown of Kĩrĩnyaga (‘Ngurumo, or Feeding Goats Mangoes’) and my grandmother’s farm in Kiambu (A Walk Through My Cũcũ’s Farm); from holidays by the Kenyan coast (‘Galu’ and ‘Naila’s Peace Place’) to a few in Laikipia (‘Equator song’); these places find themselves crystallised in each track of the EP, most apparent through the inclusion of field recordings taken in respective place; but also in the music and lyricism of the pieces. But as I worked on this record, the more I realised that my mind was not only taking solace in imagining ‘home’ as physical spaces, but also in seeing that ‘home’ was in ancestry; in language and words; in family and friends; in the palpability of my instruments; in harmony but also dissonance, and of course, in music.