Revolutionary sounds from Kinshasa

The DIY ethic might have been fostered during the punk years when anyone who could bash out three chords could make era-defining records, but more than 40 years on, it remains in good health in the Congolese capital Kinshasa. There, that ethic is borne out of necessity. If you want to make music, you need to improvise when it comes to gathering your tools. Like their compatriots Konono No 1, Kokoko! make good use of the things everyday folk leave behind. Very good use, in fact. Huge fans of electronic music, they fashion discarded junk into musical instruments; a typewriter repurposed as a drum machine is just one example. The resulting sound is extraordinary. Raw and deeply funky, it also represents a backlash against Congolese musicians past – “the elders who did nothing but sing love and praise the authorities for money,” they say. These are revolutionary sounds. The groove is heavy, the radicalism strong.

Click here to listen to Kokoko! on the Discover WOMAD 2018 playlist on Spotify.