Open up to the kind of Musical Innovation we’re Proposing

“Every time the industry needed something in the world, they found it in Congo, but they didn’t leave anything behind,” says Bianko.

The Congolese way is to not let those struggles haunt their everyday life, says Bianko. People in Kinshasa maintain a spirit of resistance, the group explains — of not letting the financial and political turmoil affect their ability to get dressed up, go out, have fun. Or make music.

That’s why the magic of KOKOKO! is not just that they worked with what they could find to make music. It’s that they dove deep into the research of harnessing sounds from unusual objects and became a project of sonic revolution in the process.

“Now, this is what makes our sound, these instruments,” says Bianko, noting that they’re still adding new objects to their repertoire with every tour. “We wouldn’t switch back [to traditional instruments] because these instruments are the identity of the band.”

The “knock knock knock” of their names has evolved as well. As political instability rocked Congo in 2017, they were literally knocking on the doors of embassies across Kinshasa, trying to get visas approved so the band could tour internationally.

Now, they say, they’re knocking on people’s consciousness “to open up to the kind of musical innovation we’re proposing.”

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