KOKOKO! is a collective born in Kinshasa capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a creative collision of different artists which fused at a block party.
It consists of musical instrument inventors from the Ngwaka neighbourhood, electronic producer débruit, Makara Bianko (aka the Lingwala devil) and his dancers bursting forth from the Lingwala neighbourhood.
They’re best known for creating a contemporary aesthetic all their own by re-wiring and up-cycling materials such as metal, cans, engine parts and plastic containers found in Kinshasa’s streets into vital sculptural resonant dance music.
Their distorted fast rhythms and spontaneous lo-fi electric sounds provide the chaotic soundtrack for the city’s harsh yet abundantly creative realities.
It’s a brand new scene – radical, dangerous and thriving in a country whose political instability is felt first and most urgently on the streets of Kinshasa, an urban patchwork stretching further than the eye can see in Africa’s 3rd largest capital city. KOKOKO! is the spectacular sonic backdrop, the new, no holds barred aesthetic emanating from the downtown clubs (in between the government-imposed power cuts).
In Kinshasa the spirit of performance is multidisciplinary and collaborative, the performance artists, musicians and dancers often perform together, expressing similar sentiments and sharing the same rebellious spirit.
The wider KOKOKO! collective includes performance artists who head to busy crossroads in search of an audience in the bustling city, their gestures expressing the harsh realities of current events in the country. Their work allows them to speak out, without words, in order to express the frustrations of today and the events of the past that have driven what should be one of the richest country in the world into chaos, which richer foreign countries feed off of and exploit.
It does not escape the notice of the Congolese people that the very resources which have fuelled much of the most prosperous countries industrial and technological progress, from slaves, rubber and diamonds to the coltan powering our smartphones and Kobalt for new electric batteries, are the root cause of their own country’s suffering.
NMR (photo: press KOKOKO!)