Kokoroko are a London-based Afrobeat group who have, since 2014, established a well-founded reputation for shaking up London's live music scene with their specialty horn-and-drum-driven jams and polyrhythms. According to their own manifesto they "...specialise in a soul shaking, horn fueled sound with West African roots and Inner London hues." Celebrated by media across the European continent, they have been showcased abundantly at music festivals and in clubs, intoxicating audiences with their intentionally spiritual compositions. Influential DJ and curator Gilles Peterson signed the band to his Brownswood label, where they continue to spread their gospel of groove as inspired by Fela Kuti, Ebo Taylor, Tony Allen, and Peter King.
The group was founded by trumpeter/composer Sheila Maurice-Gray in 2014 after attending a music workshop in Kenya. She assembled a host of London jazz school kids (she and saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi also play in the mostly female Nerija and the SEED Ensemble), trombonist Richie Seivright, bassist Mutale Chashi, guitarist Oscar Jerome, percussionist Onome Edgeworth, keyboardist Yohan Kebede, and drummer Ayo Salawu. After working gigs in small clubs for a year when they began writing together, they graduated to the festival circuit. Kokoroko contributed the track "Abusey Junction" to the award-winning Brownswood compilation We Out Here, a showcase of London's new jazz, funk, and global grooves in February of 2018. Their jam proved a standout. The cut was selected as Track of the Year at the 2019 Worldwide awards and appeared on the group's self-titled debut EP for Brownswood in March. ~ Thom Jurek