Watch KOKOKO! play “Likolo”, “Tongos’a” and “Malembe” at the Tiny Desk.
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Nov. 18, 2019 | Bob Boilen — KOKOKO! are sonic warriors. They seized control of the Tiny Desk, shouting their arrival through a megaphone, while electronic sirens begin to blare. There’s a sense of danger in their sonic presence that left no doubt that something momentous was about to happen. And it did!
With instruments tied and hammered together — made from detergent bottles, scrapyard trash, tin cans, car parts, pots, pans and more — KOKOKO! managed to alter the office soundscape.
Backed by a bank of electronics, including a drum machine, this band from the Democratic Republic of the Congo redefines the norm of what music is and how music is made. Wearing yellow jumpsuits that are both utilitarian and resemble Congolese worker attire, this band from Kinshasa feel as though they’re venting frustrations through rhythm. And all the while they’re making dance music, all from their debut LP, Fongola, that feels unifying — more party than politics.
Makara Bianko: drums, vocals; Débruit: synthesizer, vocals; Boms Bomolo: bass, vocals; Dido Oweke: guitar; Love Lokombe: percussion, vocals;
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogosin, Alex Drewenskus ; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Jack Corbett, Bronson Arcuri, Maia Stern; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey; VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Ben De La Cruz/NPR