Led by Makara Biano and prolific French producer débruit, the pioneering and acclaimed Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo-based DIY electronic collective KOKOKO! is fueled by growing spirit of protest and unrest among their hometown’s young people. And much like young people across the globe, Kinshasa’s young people have begun to openly question centuries’ old norms and taboos, and they’ve openly begun to denounce a society that they perceive as being paralyzed by fear — namely,. the fear of inclusiveness and much-needed change.
The collective and their local counterparts have done this with a fearless in-your-face, punk rock sort of ethos. This isn’t surprising: the acclaimed Congolese collective’s name literally means KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK! — with the collective viewing themselves as the sound and voice of a bold, new generation defiantly banging on the doors and walls, yelling out “OUR TIME IS NOW!”
The Kinshasa-based collective’s creative processes are centered around the notion that poverty and the desperately urgent need to survive often fuels wild creativity. And unsurprisingly, they operate in a wildly inventive DIY fashion, creating self-designed and self-made instrument made from recycled and reclaimed flotsam and jetsam and recovered junk. They even built a recording studio out of old mattresses, reclaimed wood and an old ping-one table.
The collective exploded into the national and international scenes with their critically applauded, full-length debut 2019’s FONGOLA was a forward-thinking, urgent effort featuring a difficult to pigeonhole, global orientated sound with elements of disco, post-punk, hip-hop, reggae, retro-futuristic funk, Afro-futurism and the region’s traditional folkloric sounds. The end result, was a sound that seemed to come from an alien yet familiar, near-dystopian future like our own, where the ghetto and the club where one and the same.
The Kinshasa-based collective’s latests ginned “Donne Moi,” is the first bit of new material since their full-length debut. Featured on the soundtrack of FIFA 22, “Donne Moi” sees the act expanding upon their forward-thinking, sound: while still pairing their handmade instruments with electronic production, the new single is a percussive, house music leaning club banger centered around chanted and shouted call and response vocals, rousingly anthemic hooks.
“We recorded ‘Donne Moi’ in Brussels just before the pandemic hit, and we are happy it’s finally seeing a release. The song is about giving back. Giving, as well as receiving, shouldn’t be always one way.”
The collective is currently working on new material, which is slated for release next year.