Photo: Nina Manandhar.

Kokoroko: "Jazz & Afrobeat Shouldn't Stay Within Our Parents' Generation"

We talk to the buzzing London afrobeat group's bandleader about their debut EP and much more.

Last February saw Brownswood Recordings release the fresh and exciting compilation We Out Here, assembled by Shabaka Hutchings, which celebrated the new generation of London jazz musicians who've been organically fine-tuning their craft for the last decade.

In an epoch where streaming numbers and views can often precede the foresight of quality and legacy, this grassroots family is welding their formal education at Trinity Laban and Guildhall alongside the energetic tutelage of Tomorrow's Warriors and Kinetika Bloco to create an essence for your ears that is unmistakably from the Big Smoke.

One band who feature triumphantly on We Out Here are the empress-led Kokoroko, an 8-piece afrobeat band hailing from the UK capital. Drawing influence from West African highlife and jazz, they sit at the intersection of past and present, well-marinated in enough polyrhythm seasoning to induce fires on the dance floors they play.

We spoke with the talented bandleader, trumpeter and visual artist Sheila Maurice-Grey about paying homage to highlife heroes, the burgeoning London jazz sound and their new self-titled EP, Kokoroko.

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