Kasiva Mutua may have learned drumming inspired by folktales told by her grandmother, but has developed her own knack for powerful beats. One of Kenya’s leading percussionists and drummers, her expressive playing can tell a story on its own, or keep a band perfectly in the pocket.
Today, she’s an international touring percussionist, integrating African traditional music with modern styles such as jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae, funk and more. One of only a few African women playing percussion continentally and internationally, Kasiva plays music to celebrate her community’s spirit, tell her people’s stories and elevate the place of the African woman in music.
She’s been involved in numerous intercultural musical collaborations including The Nile Project, 1Beat, x-Jazz women, Coke Studio Africa, etc.
In 2015, The Kenya native co-founded the first all-female percussion collective in Kenya, MOTRAMUSIC (MOdern and TRAditional rhythms). MOTRAMUSIC teaches young women and girls the art of drumming, percussion and understanding rhythm as a whole. Overtime, MOTRAMUSIC has grown from a percussion based project to a sisterhood where the girls have formed lasting friendships and bonds that are another family; all through drumming.
Kasiva has also played in a number of festivals continentally and internationally including Global Fest, The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Sauti Za Busara, The Holland Festival, Asheville Percussion Festival, SAKIFO, ZAKIFO, among others, and has worked with reputable musicians such as Kirk Whalum, the late Oliver Mtukudzi, Anthony B, Bastian Baker, Nomoucounda Cissoko, Thais Diarra, and many more. She is a member of Kenyan based Nairobi Horns Project, and backs a number of musicians in Kenya such as The Safaricom Choir, Maia and the Big Sky, Fadhilee Itulya, Silayio, Kidum, etc. Kasiva was named a TEDGlobal Fellow in 2017, with her talk-performance hybrid garnering over 1.2 million views. Watch it here. She is also an OkayAfrica 100 Woman in 2018.
Citing the girl child and gender equality as issues she is passionate about, Kasiva continues to motivate women to diversify their positions in music and inspire the young generation to continue preserving their culture.
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(c) Kasiva Mutua , 2022