What does it sound like?:
A few years back there was a band called Staff Benda Belili who gained notoriety as a Paraplegic group out of the DRC playing instruments made from Cans, Plastic bottles, car radiators etc picked up from the streets of Kinshasa. Kokoko are the latest band to plough a similar furrow although they have added some electronics and some beats. Less organic if you like but no less exciting. Of course the best way to witness them would be in a live setting preferably in a sweaty nightclub in a Kinshasa backstreet. Since this was not an available option I settled for an armchair in my Lichfield abode. How do I begin to describe their music? Firstly the sounds are not easily identifiable yes the percussion is obviously a driving force but are they conventional drums? In most instances not. There is an insistent driving riff with a strong use of repetitive refrains – think if you like an African motorik. Personally I love it. A couple of standout tracks are L.O.V.E, Zala Mayale and my favourite Kitoko. This last track starts off with an unidentifiable plucked intstrument, a nice repeating bass refrain and what sounds like a distorted Farfisa playing a beautiful melody. I have played it over and over. When the female voice comes in it sounds like she is singing Dog eat Donald. Obviously she isn’t but we could always dream of course. Anyway I am glad I found this and take a listen:
What does it all *mean*?
African music still has the ability to excite. They have a few UK dates later this year – nowhere near Brum quell surprise but I will try and catch them somewhere.
Goes well with…
Dancing around like a loon.
Might suit people who like…
Fela Kuti, Staff Benda Belili and Remain in Light Talking Heads.