KOKOROKO at Royal Festival Hall, Meltdown Festival: A Night to Remember

music afrobeat

A Night of Musical Magic

KOKOROKO, the talented Afrobeat band, recently graced the stage at the prestigious Royal Festival Hall, part of Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival held on 14 June 2023. Fresh from a trip to Devon working on new material for their upcoming album, the band had not initially planned on performing more gigs in London with their current music set. However, as percussionist Onome Edgeworth joked, when Meltdown and the Royal Festival Hall invite you, you don’t refuse.

Returning to a Special Place

Having played regularly in Southbank venues as part of the talent-nurturing organization Tomorrow’s Warriors, the Royal Festival Hall holds a special place in the hearts of KOKOROKO members. Initially concerned about ticket sales and performing in such a large venue, the band clearly needn’t have worried. The sold-out crowd showered them with applause and enthusiasm throughout the night.

Celebrating Their Debut Album

The concert mainly featured material from KOKOROKO’s 2022 debut album, Could We Be More, which succeeded their eponymous 2019 EP. Their infectious blend of afrobeat rhythms, ethereal guitar, and powerful brass was present from the opening notes of “Ewà Inú” through “Dide O” and “Something’s Going On.”

KOKOROKO’s ability to seamlessly move between danceable rhythms and mellow fluidity was on full display during the concert. The audience enjoyed bopping to “Baba Ayoola” and closing their eyes to immerse themselves in the soothing vocal harmonies of “Carry Me Home.” The exquisite unison of Richie Seivwright’s trombone and Sheila Maurice-Grey’s trumpet/flugelhorn was truly a treat to witness.

A Glimpse into the Future

The band also offered a sneak peek into their new material, turning the audience into delighted guinea pigs. The catchy rhythms and lyrics of the final tune, “Never Lost,” hinted at a future fan favorite. Meanwhile, any first-time performance hesitations during “Time and Time” were overshadowed by some fantastic playing, including an impressive grand piano solo by keys player Yohan Kebede.

A Missing Piece

The concert lineup was missing Cassie Kinoshi, who left the group earlier in the year. Her absence left a palpable void in the energy, texture, and richness that the alto sax player/composer brought to KOKOROKO’s sound. However, as they neared the end of the concert and rewarded the eager audience with their career-defining piece, “Abusey Junction,” it was evident that the magic of their music transcended any missing elements.

Meltdown Festival 2023


About Me

I’m Dr. Miles Beaumont from the charming town of York in the UK. I’ve spent over three decades as a medical doctor, helping people and contributing to important research. I graduated from Oxford University, and ever since, I’ve devoted myself to improving the health and lives of others.

When I’m not practicing medicine, you’ll find me soaking up the world of jazz music. It’s been a passion of mine since I turned 30, and I’ve been an active part of York’s jazz scene ever since. Whether it’s going to local gigs, listening to records at home, or just enjoying the rhythmic and improvisational magic of jazz, it’s a big part of who I am.