Splitting her time between Maryland, New York, and Nairobi, Kenyan composer and performer Nyokabi Kariũki seems to ever be in search of the perfect sound. She sees no boundaries between genres in her experiments, with her music ranging from contemporary classical, to the more abstract, and all the way back around to pop.
Her latest offering, “Equator Song” is truly serene, blending nature sounds with her own veritably majestic voice and other subtle sounds. Essentially turning the sounds of her verdant environment into a modern alt-pop composition. The effect is genuinely mesmerizing.
It’s the latest offering from her approaching mini-album, peace places: kenyan memories, out February 25 via Spitfire sub label SA Recordings. She’s previously shared “Galu”.
Speaking on “Equator Song” she shares, “On a journey through the county of Laikipia, Kenya, I’d recorded some weaverbirds in a nearby tree, whose vibrant yellow feathers seemed, in a way, a visual juxtaposition to the dissonance of their song. While on this land, where the equator stretches through, I also found myself pondering over another juxtaposition between harmony and disharmony — my own feelings of connection, but also disconnect, to the land, my lineage, and our languages. Wanting to acknowledge the discomfort of expressing in languages that I do not speak, I start in English — “you’ll find my soul on someone’s tongue” — before shifting to Kiswahili. But by the song’s end, hoping that I’ve made peace with this discomfort, I turn to the language of Maa, for it is preserved in the meaning of the name I carry. Steadily, I count in this unfamiliar tongue, tracing the words that many in Laikipia county speak; and perhaps also tracing the words that my ancestors may have spoken.“