Track Premiere: Nyokabi Kariũki “Nazama”

A breathtaking mix of catharsis, weariness, and aspiration flickers like golden fireworks through “Nazama,” the final track on Nyokabi Kariũki’s forthcoming FEELING BODY. Borne from a period of extended illness, a gauntlet of emotions emerges from an aqueous soundworld, where recovery opens pathways to growth and reflection. Kariũki uses layers of her voice to create her own choir, buoying the aquatic field recordings and shifting through liquid sonic movements. 

“‘Nazama’ means ‘to sink’ in Kiswahili,” Kariũki explains, “and the lyrics are based on a memory of when I learned how to swim within larger, seemingly scarier, ocean waves than I was used to.” As the piece builds through full submersion, light appears in the distance. The music pushes us forward, hopeful for reprieve but aware the journey is far from over.

Turbulent aural spaces circulate in “Nazama” as minimal, emotive string arrangements teeter on the abyss’s edge. Kariũki continues, “The field recordings are the sound of complete submission to the force of water, and in metaphor, submission to body, which is something I had to do while sick. 

“I sing, “I’m getting better” as a refrain, and I mean it literally, but also as a way to acknowledge the realization of life as a continual process of growing and learning.” Her minimal, emotive string arrangements teeter on the abyss’s edge, waiting for the moment we cut free from the anchors pulling us downward and taking flight.

FEELING BODY will be released March 3 by cmntx on digital and cassette formats. Stream below and pre-order HERE.

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