Kasiva Mutua may have learned drumming from folk tales 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 and elevate the place of the African woman in music. She’s involved in numerous intercultural musical collaborations including The Nile Project, 1Beat, x-Jazz women, Coke Studio Africa, etc. The Kenya native co-founded an all-female percussion group, MOTRA (Modern and Traditional Rhythms), which involves drumming mentorship and sisterhood.
She was named a TED Global Fellow in 2017 and an OkayAfrica 100 Woman in 2018.
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.
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.