Maria Hanlon breaks down our love for Kokoroko, an eight-piece band changing preconceptions of jazz and bringing fresh soundscapes to a festival near you. And we’re here for it…
Sheila Maurice-Grey – Trumpet, Vocals
Cassie Kinoshi – Alto Sax, Vocals
Richie Seivwright – Trombone, Vocals
Onome Edgeworth – Percussion
Ayo Salawu – Drums
Tobi Adenaike-Johnson – Guitar
Yohan Kebede – Synthesizers, Keyboards
Duane Atherley – Bass, Synthesizers, Keyboards
GENRE: Best described as a fiery fusion of Jazz and Afrobeat. The eight-piece band are changing people’s preconceptions of what jazz is and introducing them to a new, exciting form of it.
LIVE: Kokoroko are powerful and immersive live, with each of the 8 members adding a unique flavour to create a feast of soul shaking sounds. They performed a sold out show at Electric Brixton last month showcasing some of their latest releases such as ‘We Give Thanks’ and ‘Something’s Going On’ along with their classics ‘Carry Me Home’ and ‘Abusey Junction’. Their set was magical and moving, taking us away from the everyday.
SIMILAR TO: It’s challenging comparing Kokoroko to other artists as they have carefully carved out a lane of their own but you can definitely hear a likeness to Nubiyan Twist, Nubya Garcia and Ezra Collective within their music.
INSPIRED BY: Kokoroko take inspiration from the likes of Fela Kuti, Ebo Taylor, Tony Allen and the sounds of West Africa. Speaking on the influence of their latest album, ‘Could We Be More’, band members Sheila Maurice-Grey and Onome Edgeworth explain: “I think home has hugely informed the way we write and play our music. Everyone comes from different backgrounds but the thing that unites us in Kokoroko is that we all have a similar love and appreciation for Afrobeat and highlife, whether that’s Ebo Taylor or Pat Thomas.”
SOUNDTRACK FOR: Their music is perfect for whenever you need a pick-me-up, or on a hot, hazy day. Their long-awaited 15-track debut album, ‘Could We Be More’, will be released on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings on 5th August 2022, just in time for summer.
MOST POPULAR SONG: Whilst their new material has gone down an absolute treat so far, their most popular song (according to Spotify streams) is their 2019 track ‘Abusey Junction’. The poetic, guitar-led track co-written with Oscar Jerome went viral with almost 50 million plays and is still a firm favourite today.
NEXT PERFORMING: They are currently on tour in Europe (check out their tour dates here) although don’t worry they’ll be back in the UK soon. The next time you can catch Kokoroko play in London will be at Gala Festival in Peckham from June 2nd-4th, followed by an intimate gig at Rough Trade East on 8th August and Rough Trade Bristol on the 9th August. As expected tickets have almost all gone but you can join the waiting list here, as we can guarantee this won’t be one to miss!
Words: Maria Hanlon
Listen to Maria Meets on the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month 3-5pm on voicesradio.co.uk