The London scene is bursting with breath-taking talent. Jazz is now what hip hop was in the city 30 years ago: music through which young people let off steam, with no reservations when it comes to breaking down boundaries. One of the most exciting new bands is Kokoroko (“Be strong!” in one of the Nigerian dialects). Their first release, the wonderfully gentle “Abusey Junction”, has been watched more than 14 million times on YouTube.
The collective can usually be seen performing as an eight-strong ensemble, playing a raw yet profoundly soulful version of Afrobeat, as forged by Fela Kuti. Their speciality is “soul-shaking” horns, which – with west-African rhythms and London jazz grooves – always prompt an ecstatic response from audiences. Also: Kokoroko’s brass ensemble is all-female, led by trumpeter and band leader Sheila Maurice-Grey. It would be interesting to know what the über-macho Fela Kuti would have thought of that!