“Survival fuels creativity” says one of the members of KOKOKO! an electronic music band/artists collective from Kinshasa. They could be termed an Electro-Junk band but they call their sound “tekno kintueni” or “zagué” in Lingala. Their music might emanate from found objects made into electronic instruments but their sound isn’t junk at all.
In fact this magnificent mélange of Afro-pop rhythms derived from instruments made out of junk is completely the sound of ingenuity. They express the sound of the city, of life, and a river of buzzing, humming, unexpected and vital energy. As an introduction to their music, the video featuring the song “Tokoliana”, their first single, is completely amazing. They have a typewriter drum machine, a harp rigged to cans, the kind of oil can guitar we’ve seen in some other parts of Africa, and a host more found object instruments. It seems slightly futuristic but for some you might recognise that this is an Africa we see elsewhere, in other parts of the continent, it’s just that the improvised instruments are now in one band, which hums with gifted musicians and creators. Here is improvisation becoming fuel for a whole new sound, rooted in a bustling, survivalist city. KOKOKO! want to let us know that the alternative scene in Kinshasa is exciting and they’re at the forefront of that scene. You can read an in-depth interview here.
Definitely looking forward to hearing a lot from this project, which was given a boost by a local company that worked on the collaboration project Africa Express, that linked them with French producer Débruit.
Watch and listen!