New Orleans specialist DJ Lil' Koko cut her teeth with a three year residency at Ronnie Scott's- DJing and co-promoting the explosive monthly 'Thursday Mardi Gras’ nights. Spinning rare New Orleans RnB, funk and soul with a few detours into the sweaty Bayous of Louisiana, she tours London to bring the rich musical history of New Orleans to the masses. Heavily influenced by Tennessee Williams and literature from the Deep South, Lil' Koko spent an extended sabbatical in New Orleans and Cuba in 2010 digging through vaults of New Orleans record shops for buried vinyl treasures, befriending musicians and interviewing cultural icons. Returning each year since, she lives and breathes the culture of this mythical city.
Featured as guest DJ on Gilles Peterson's Worldwide FM in April 2017, Lil' Koko was interviewed by the legendary BBC 6Music host and played a blistering set on his show. Hear this: https://www.mixcloud.com/worldwidefm/dj-lil-koko-19-04-17/
She hosts her own show 'The New Orleans Strut' on Resonance FM, a unique mix of vinyl, live guests, chat and story about New Orleans https://www.mixcloud.com/Resonance/clear-spot-the-new-orleans-strut-14th-july-2017/
A born and bred Londoner, Lil’ Koko has opened for a whole host of New Orleans acts touring through London. Over the last five years she has spun for and welcomed onto stage New Orleans royalty, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, celebrating their 35th anniversary tour at The Brooklyn Bowl. She played for master drummer Zigaboo Modelliste of The Meters at The 100 Club, London in a one-off, exclusive gig in the summer of 2013. She has twice been showcased at The Brassband Bash at Richmix, playing with premier New Orleans brass act, The Soul Rebels.
In Mardi Gras 2017, she supported The Kansas Smitty’s for the blistering annual ‘Mardi Gras at The Vaults’. She supported Son of Dave at The Jamboree in April 2013 mixing up delta blues and swing to match harmonica extraordinaire Dave’s diverse influences.
From mid 2010 to present she co-hosts a monthly residency at Nightjar, London -widening her repertoire to the Swing and jump-jive sounds to match this hidden, internationally acclaimed speakeasy bar. Her rolling bluesy numbers perfectly spicing up this chic little hideaway.
One half of the founding crew of ‘Mardi Gras Mambo’- this unique duo organised rollicking authentic New Orleans parties showcasing the best New Orleans inspired bands and DJs. They packed anything up to 400 people into The New Empowering Church- a tropical warehouse space in Hackney. Mardi Gras Mambo has travelled far and wide- transplanting their New Orleans events to The Hootananny and Kaff, Brixton, and The Mardi Gras Mambo room for the outlandish ‘Rumpus’ party outfit at Electroworks, Angel http://www.rumpusparty.co.uk/panto-v-monsters/
Tea parties with a twist! An accomplished swing dancer, she hosted ‘Lil Koko’s Tea Party’ at ‘Time for Tea’, a unique 40’s tearoom frozen in time along Shoreditch High Street. Serving up mouth-watering cakes and spinning vinyl from her New Orleans stash then pushing the tables aside for swing dancing to take centre stage.
Teaming up with Continental Drifts and Brassroots in the Summer of 2012, Lil’ Koko rocked a series of Olympics gigs bringing the fire and passion of New Orleans to hosts of games goers across London. Other monthly residencies include the legendary Troubadour, once host to Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix.
Since 2014 to present DJ Lil’ Koko brings her stash of vinyl and infectious grooves to a monthly residency at The Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch.
Photographer: Ella Haller
Musician: DJ Lil' Koko
Venue: Nightjar, Old Street. London