Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra

KOKOLO’s explosive fourth album, "Heavy Hustling", finds the New York City group meshing Fela Kuti poly-rhythms,Fania All-Star cadence and Dancehall swagger into James Brown classics, bringing to life one of the most original releases in years and re-affirming their place as one of the brightest stars on the current global underground scene. Ray Lugo, the charismatic leader of the band, expands: “I thought it would be interesting to make explicit the implicit connection that exists between Nigerian Afrobeat and American Funk and explore the musical dialogue that took place across the Atlantic during that golden era, a dialogue that also included the New York Latin sound, which was also highly regarded and influential in Africa at the time. “Heavy Hustling" is the result of this exploration.”

Since forming in the Big Apple’s Lower East Side District in 2001, Kokolo has evolved into a prolific recording machine, with over 50 releases on their discography and features in scores of notable international compilations, alongside stars such as Femi Kuti, Ska Cubano, Tony Allen, U-Roy, Caetano Veloso, Masters At Work, Quantic, Salif Keita, Gerardo Frisina, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Baaba Mal, Jazztronik, Zero 7, Afro Celt Sound System, Joe Bataan, Common, The Orb, Eric B. & Rakim and many more.

Their recent participation on the popular "Rough Guide To Afrobeat Revival" compilation, which showcases their entire second album “More Consideration”, confirms Kokolo‘s status among connoisseurs of the genre and acknowledges their role in the early New York Afrobeat scene that inspired the current international Afrobeat revival movement. Lugo reflects on the group’s significant output: “The fact that our music has been embraced by so many different people energizes us to continue to aim higher and to create better songs, better live shows”. Indeed, while many of their peers have slowed down on productivity, Kokolo‘s creative momentum shows no signs of diminishing.

On stage, few would disagree that Kokolo delivers one the most dynamic shows today, often playing for 3 hours non-stop in a frenzied punchy Afro party. “The stage is our bridge to the world” states Lugo, “it is the primary reason this band exists, to spread soulful music around the globe”. Their well-known reputation for electrifying concerts has seen them perform on some of the world’s most prestigious stages in dozens of countries around the globe, such as The Montreal Jazz Festival, Glastonbury and scores of others, where they have shared the spotlight with acts ranging from Roots Manuva, Manu DiBango, Taj Mahal, Isaac Hayes, Zap Mama and Gilles Peterson to Chic, Pete Rock, The Itals, BloodHound Gang, Roy Ayers and Sean Kuti & Egypt 80.

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