A wind of change is blowing over the cultural landscape of Kinshasa. An amazing alternative scene is thriving far for the occidental fantasies of “world music.” It is explosive and vibrant.
These sounds are emanating from the ghetto and downtown clubs of the Congolese capital in between the government-imposed power cuts. The artists actually bring something alive in the chaos of the 3rd biggest african city. They have strong new ideas with DIY constructed instruments and a powerful and unique drive. This movement is more expressive, lively, spontaneous and direct compared to most big cities’ scenes, like London, Berlin etc… It’s raw, free and open creatively more like NYC in the ’70s and ’80s or Berlin in the ’90s if it has to be compared to artistic movements. It’s inventing everything from nothing and it’s happening now and you can experience it through the recordings, the videos and KOKOKO! ‘s incredible live shows.
The band was born in Kinshasa when Makara Bianko, débruit and a group of musicians from the Ngwaka neighbourhood met. They rehearsed and recorded together in a self made studio made of material gathered around. After one month of playing and creating new sounds they improvised a block party on a building site of the Kato street ghetto, that would be the 1st performance of KOKOKO! And will define the collective that also includes art performers and dancers.
Supported by Pitchfork , TIME , i-D, BBC6 , Afropunk andfeaturedatTED’s TEDGlobal2017 conference or Resident Advisor’s live videos , KOKOKO! is the DIY collective pioneering an inspiring alternative scene from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their introductory video amassed over 2 million views across various platforms, and their hypnotic debut EP, TOKOLIANA, found favour in Resident Advisor , Bandcamp Daily , and BBC Radio 1.
KOKOKO!’s have now released 5 tracks into the public mainstream an dhave collaborated with other African artists on remixes and music. Now signed to Transgressive Records they are workign towards their debut album, due out in Q2 2019.
After their first sold-out European tour in spring — which saw over 800 attending their second ever show in Brussels — KOKOKO! Took their electrifying live show across 19 dates in Europe last autumn. Throughout October and November, they played the likes of Amsterdam Dance Event, Milan’s Linecheck Festival, and headlined their own residency at the 25th London Jazz Festival.
2018 sees them preparing for another hectic summer with performances at Roskilde festival, Sonar, Dour, We Love Green, Lente Kabinet, Down The Rabbit Hole and many more, with a very special night in London yet to be announced.
KOKOKO! is the soundtrack of Kinshasa’s tomorrow.
KOKOKO! is composed of:
Recording, producing and artistic direction comes from prolific producer débruit , known and respected for his space/time bending work, fusing synthetic music through collaboration with African, Arabic and turkish sounds / musicians. He helped craft the raw energy and abundance of ideas which come alive from a production and live performance spectacle.
The project involves a group of musicians from the Ngwaka neighbourhood , a quite psychedelic
electronic formation playing repetitive patterns crafted on self designed string instruments and other percussive inventions made from recycled scrap material. Makara Bianko , the young energetic singer creating a brutal hybrid of “coupé décalé” with a punk attitude he calls “Zagué” from the Lingwala neighbourhood where he plays 6 nights a week with his dancers. “KOKOKO! excel at turning chaos into euphoria” – Pitchfork
“Energetic and explosive… inspiring a thriving alternative dance” – TED Global
“KOKOKO! is an explosive new musical collective that thrives on ingenuity” – TIME
“Get to know the soundtrack of Kinshasa’s tomorrow, a powerful protest project… KOKOKO!” – i-D
“This is more than survival. This is genius” – AFROPUNK