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‘The hardest hustling DJ,’ according to Okay Africa, Coco Em is a well-established international DJ who’s played eclectic blends to crowds from Nuits d’Afrique in Montreal to Trans Musicales in Rennes, France. When the world shut down last year, however, she translated that energy into her next creative leap…
“An album I started writing during the height of the pandemic in 2020, ‘Kilumi’ (Kamba sacred drum songs and dance) explores elements of different sounds that kept me going in a very difficult year,” explains Emma who set out to write a fresh beat on Ableton every day to push herself as a producer and hone her skills. These explorations led to a collection of 70 ideas, each one reflecting a different shade to her musical palette then refined and sculpted into this beguiling seven-track journey.
“’Kilumi’ takes on different paths each time a song starts,” Emma explains as she describes the EP. “From the amapiano inspired elements of the single ‘Winyo Nungo’, the energetic combination of bass and hi-hats on tracks like ‘Kilumi’, the moody trap style of ‘Keep The Pace’ and more are the building blocks of the overall EP piece.”
The EP’s final process came through Santuri East Africa studios. A Nairobi-based non-profit organization who empower East African artists, through their mentoring she’s refined the release to the remarkable trip you hear today. They’ve also given Emma the resources to found the Nairobi-based womxn collective Sim Sima, which is also the name of her new label and Worldwide FM radio show.
Featuring seven fellow Kenyan kindred spirits – MC Sharon, Wuod Baba, Ndunge wa Kalele, Sisian & Kasiva, Janice Iche and Ladbi – Coco Em’s debut release is a vibrant reflection of her own artistic soul, her inspirations as a DJ and the rich creative energy happening in studios and dancefloors across Africa right now.