Nkisi is the alias of Melika Ngombe Kolongo, an electronic musician, producer and artist. After earning a BA in Audio Visual Techniques at Narafi Brussels, Nkisi completed an MA in Psychosocial Studies with a focus in Culture, Diaspora & Ethnicity at Birkbeck, University London. Living in London, Nkisi became an integral part of the city’s cultural landscape. A regular performer at Endless—the club night that temporarily occupied and transformed unused spaces around the city—Nkisi is part of a milieu that insists upon fluidity and hybridity in art as in life. As Anna Wood wrote in a review of Nkisi’s debut album, 7 directions, for The Quietus, “It [is] psychoacoustics…finding out how the body and the memory is affected by sounds and rhythms. She’s making connections—between people, across time and space, in a way that is resilient, sustainable, pleasurable, powerful.”
Alongside ANGEL-HO and Chino Amobi, Nkisi is a founding member of NON Records, an independent record label and collective dedicated to artists who are African or from the African diaspora. NON was founded in 2015; a period in which the dominant strands of electronic music were invested in forms of cultural production that idealized passivity and distance; what 032c Magazine called “the big flat now”. NON, conversely, and Nkisi in particular, treats sound as a form of outsourced memory with sensorial depth and intelligence. Nkisi notes Édouard Glissant as a reference in her practice; Glissant’s understanding of poetics as a means of building new imaginaries is a philosophy that can be seen to correspond with Nkisi’s artistic oeuvre. Most recently, she co-founded Radical Agency Axis Arkestra’ with artist Curtly Thomas, describing its focus as being “on knowledge temporalities and alternative forms of knowledge production that have been dismissed as irrational by rational mechanisms of homogenized knowing,” and highlighting improvisation and transdisciplinary collaboration as a decolonial strategy.
During her residency at Callie’s, Nkisi continued work on the Axis Arkestra project, engaging with old and new collaborators.
Nkisi’s recorded work includes Axis Arkestra (2020); Subjective Engine, R&S Compilation (2020); destruction of power, Collapsing Market (2019); 7 directions, UIQ (2019); Kinenga, Shared meanings Compilation (2019); The Dark Orchestra, Arcola (2018); RUIN EP, Endless (2017); Dj Kitoko 1 & 2, self-released (2017-2017); KILL EP, MW (2016); NON Worldwide (2015-2018) and Doomcore Records 16 & 21 (2014-2015). Select sound design includes Soundtrack for Slim Soledad performance Another Map to Nevada by Performance Agency, Berlin 2020; Sensa, 2019 with Paul Maheke & Ariel Ashbel performed at Block Universe London UK; Performa19 at Abrons Art Centre NYC; Ludwig Museum Cologne; Venice Biennial 2019; Levant 2018 with Paul Maheke & Ligia Lewis, Lafayette anticipation, Paris & Ludlow38 NYC; Do The Right Thing with Ariel Ashbel and Friends, HAU2, Berlin.
Nkisi has performed live in venues that include the Tate Modern, Berlin Atonal, HAU2 and Palais de Tokyo. She is a 2018 SHAPE Network Alumni and NTS Radio Resident since 2016. Nkisi currently lives and works between London and Berlin.