RAKA is a world percussion ensemble featuring bass, guitar and the East African stringed instrument called the NYATITI. Raka takes East African nyatiti traditions and fuses them with modern day world percussion and electrified guitar sounds to create something new and musically exciting. This fusion of musical influences from around the world features Carolyn Koebel on percussion, Alex Anest on guitar, Dave Sharp on electric bass and Peter Larson on nyatiti.
Percussionist Carolyn Koebel has been exploring rhythm and vibration for the past thirty years. Her early studies are rooted in the Western traditions, while the past 20 years have found her slowly traversing the globe in search of indigenous folk roots and traditional rhythmic materials from Latin & South America, West Africa and the Middle East, and all points in-between.
Dr. Pete Larson has been creating, performing and releasing challenging music from around the world for more than thirty years. His musical output, both as a musician and as a record label producer, spans diverse genres from rock to metal to pure noise to avant-experimental to East African and Japanese folk music. Most recently, he spent three years in Nairobi, Kenya under the tutelage of Oduor Nyagweno learning how to play the nyatiti, the 8 string Kenyan lyre.
Bassist, composer and bandleader Dave Sharp contributes electric bass and drone synthesizers to the RAKA sound. The combination of bass, guitar and the Kenyan nyatiti fuses with the driving world percussion rhythms of RAKA.
Guitarist Alex Anest has been performing and recording music in Southeast Michigan since 1996. Alex has studied guitar with Miles Okazaki and Chris Buzzelli and holds an M.M. in Improvisation from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Benny Green, Mark Kirschenmann and Ellen Rowe. In addition to RAKA, he currently plays with the Ann Arbor Guitar Trio, the Alex Anest Trio, the Bluewater Kings and Klezmephonic. Alex has also been a founding member of many groups including Giraffe, the Jericho Guitar Trio, Never Nebula, Secret 7, and Delta 88 and has toured with songwriter Kevin Meisel.