Released: 12th July 2019

“You can trace the seeds of Fongola back to so many different places. It began in Kinshasa in the Ngwaka neighbourhood where DIY experimental musical instruments are made, and the Lingwala neighbourhood where Makara Bianko sings every night on electronic loops with his dancers and where the band first met. We spent our tours across Europe dreaming about what we wanted to tell the world. It was recorded in makeshift studios we built out of ping pong tables and mattresses in Kinshasa and Brussels. Finally, I spent months putting it all together in Abattoir, Anderlecht like a giant electronic puzzle with pieces that don’t fit and no blueprint.” - Débruit
Today, Kinshasa collective KOKOKO! announce news of their extraordinary debut album, Fongola - alongside accompanying single ‘Buka Dansa’, premiered this morning on BBC 6 Music’s Breakfast Show with Lauren
Laverne. Discussing ‘Buka Dansa’, the group offered the following;
“'Buka Dansa' means ‘dance till it breaks’, or ‘break the dance’ and Dido sings the song on a synthetic rhythm,
where the riff from a self-made guitar moves with the melodies. The lyrics are psychedelic, and remember what’s good in life - putting that feeling parallel with a nice taste passing into your throat, like smoke, a digestion of good moments.”
KOKOKO! began in 2016 in Kinshasa. Electronic artist Débruit was in town working on a film soundtrack and began collaborating with Makara Bianko, a charismatic singer who performs with his dancers to electronic loops, and separately with a number of ingenious musical instrument creators and artists. They threw a spontaneous block party, and though many of them hadn’t known each other previously, the energy really
clicked between Makara Bianko, Débruit, Boms Bomolo, Dido Oweke, Love Lokombe and Bovic Mwepu (who has since passed away), and together they became the founding members of the group KOKOKO!, which is
part of a wider collective of multidisciplinary artists. Signed with independent label Transgressive (Flume, SOPHIE, Let’s Eat Grandma), their distorted
polyrhythms and spontaneous lo-fi sounds provide a chaotic soundtrack to their home country. When most people think of culture in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it’s The Rumble in The Jungle fight of
Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman and the accompanying Soul Power concert with James Brown in the 70s, Mobutu in his abacost and leopard print hat, les sapeurs in their elegant tailoring, and the king of Congolese rumba Papa Wemba.