Nyokabi Kariũki already made her mark on 2022 with her mini-album, peace places: kenyan memories, and now she’s set for an early return with her proper debut full-length album.
It was no easy process, with the album, FEELING BODY, documenting her experience with long COVID, as she expands, “…reflecting on how being sick suddenly gave an urgency to my understanding of the body I live in — suddenly seeing my body from the inside out, not the other way around. While writing this, I sought to share my physical and psychological experiences during the period of illness, as well as reflections in the period thereafter — I mark January 2022 as the end of my long-COVID (although there are some persistent, but manageable, aftereffects). In this record, I contend with this time that I became so aware of the body, and noting that even after, there’s a trauma of illness that remains within you, both in the physical places that it existed; and in the mind.”
She was never certain just how much of her pain she wanted to share, but her hard work ultimately resulted in her, needless to say, most personal and far-reaching work to date. She again finds solace in water – “Field recordings of water in different states — a river in Ngurumo, cracking ice, a tap dripping; being submerged underwater — flow throughout the work,” she says – something the album shares in common with her last work, but with a decidedly different result.
To close, she shares, “There is a lot to say about being sick, about being sick during a pandemic; about how the world treats you if you are sick for longer than “just a cold”. There is also a lot to say about feeling understood in online communities (I see you and appreciate you, r/longcovid) but not by doctors, and about how things change even when you get better. But I think this is a good place to stop. I am ever in awe of our bodies, and how they keep going, despite and in spite of all the pain we go through in life. In a way, this album is an expression of love, and gratitude, to my own.”