Mizizi Live-Electronics Ensemble (Nairobi, KE)


Mizizi Ensemble is a live-electronics music ensemble featuring singer and orutu player Labdi Ommes (KE); live coder & electronic musician [M] aka. Monrhea Carter (KE); interdisciplinary artist & producer Bernt Isak (NO); composer, mbira player & experimental vocalist Nyokabi Kariũki (KE); and saxophonist & live-electronics performer Alex Hofmann (DE).

Mizizi-Group photo Monrhea, Bernt, Nyokabi and Labdi rehearsing at the Mist (Photo by KR)

For their debut performance in February 2024 at Kilele, the first symposium for music innovation and technology in East Africa, the ensemble created a site-specific performance for the renowned underground venue, The Mist. The performance depicts a musical dialogue between the unique voices of the musicians and the distinctive visual and auditory qualities of the space.

The Mizizi Ensemble was initiated as a part of “Études for Live Electronics”; a FWF-PEEK-funded artistic research project that explores new forms for the preservation of electronic music works, by establishing an active live-performance practice around them. The ensemble provides an arena for the musicians to explore the intersections of their diverse backgrounds — ranging from Kenyan traditional music, to the western classical world and beyond — within the experimental and playful world of live-electronics.

Mizizi-Group photo Nyokabi & Alex

Mizizi-Group photo Monrhea Carter (Photo by KR)

Mizizi-Group photo Alex, Nyokabi & Labdi


Founded in 2023, the ensemble investigates both Kenyan and other African influences on electro-acoustic music through live-performance of relevant historic compositions such as ‘Leiyla and the poet’ (1959) by Egyptian composer Halim El-Dabh, as well as their own compositions and improvisations. Focus thereby are on techno-centric variations of contemporary and folkloric African musics from Kenyan musicians Nyokabi Kariuki (mbira, body percussion and voice); Labdi Ommes (orutu and voice), and Monrhea Carter (aka [M], on live coding and live visuals) — in continuous dialogue with European musicians Bernt Isak (live sampling, synths, etc) and Alex Hofmann (saxophone, live electronics), where the group seeks new ways to experiment and push the boundaries while creating cultural dialogue between everyone involved. The current program has a total duration of 95 minutes, structured in 3 sets à 30–35 minutes.

Ensemble Members

  • Nyokabi Kariuki - composition, mbira, vocals, electronics
  • Labdi Ommes - orutu, electronics
  • Monrhea Carter - live coding & visuals
  • Bernt Isak - live sampling & electronics
  • Alex Hofmann - saxophone & electronics

Special Guests:

  • Kostia Rapoport - electronics, keyboards
  • Tim Grund - electronics, camera interfaces


Mizizi Ensemble Live at the Mist, Nairobi, Kenya - 16.2.2024 (Full documentation coming soon) Mizizi-Group photo


Hi-Quality documentation coming soon..

Here is a quick re-cap of the live performance during Kilele on 16.2.2024 at the Mist/Nairobi (KE).

Supported by: February 2023–February 2024, this project was supported by Goethe Institut Kenya, Santuri East Africa, The Mist, and the Austrian Science Fund FWF (AR743).