People

Nyokabi Kariũki

Nyokabi Kariũki: One, your name.

‘One, your name.’ is part of a multi-movement work for solo bass with fixed media that will perhaps be titled, “Blue Things You Need to Take with You Before You Leave”. This first movement thinks of a name, and then words; and then ponders on why our relationship to specific words can become so vivid and visceral after we experience them with someone else.

Nyokabi Kariũki (b. 1998, she/her) is a Kenyan composer based between Kenya and the US. Her sound is ever-evolving, ranging from classical contemporary/experimental music to film, sound art, and (East) African musical traditions. She performs as a pianist, vocalist, and on instruments from the African continent – particularly the mbira and djembe. Nyokabi’s works have been seen at events around the globe, including the Hearsay International Audio Festival, where she received the 2021 Hearsay ‘Art’ Award; and her concert music has been regularly sought after, with commissions from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Men’s Ensemble, to performances by Chromic, Third Coast Percussion, and more. Nyokabi continues to explore music and its impact in different ways, ultimately driven by a yearning to explore sound as a tool to not only re-discover the stories of her culture, but also to highlight its significance, and contribute to the preservation of African stories.

photo by Gianfranco Bello