New Orleans specialist DJ Lil' Koko cut her teeth with a three year residency at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club hosting 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 bringing 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 enigmatic city.
Featured as guest DJ on Gilles Peterson's Worldwide FM show, 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 music, chat and story about New Orleans https://www.mixcloud.com/Resonance/playlists/the-new-orleans-strut/
Taking over the main stage at ‘Mardi Gras Pop Brixton’ in 2017- 2019 she curated a selection of bands, live art, New Orleans film and a photography exhibition collaborating with The New Orleans Jazz Museum. Bringing the fire and funk of New Orleans to this fourth annual day to night immersive New Orleans festival, set in old sea containers-turned mini iconic French Quarter.
A born and bred Londoner, Lil’ Koko has opened for a host of New Orleans acts touring through London including New Orleans royalty, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band celebrating their 35th anniversary tour at The Brooklyn Bowl. She played for master bassist George Porter Jnr, drummer Zigaboo Modelliste both of ‘The Meters’ at The 100 Club, the latter a one-off exclusive gig she hosted. She has twice been showcased at The Brassband Bash at Richmix, playing with premier New Orleans brass act, The Soul Rebels.
She supported new jazz superstars The Kansas Smitty’s for the annual circus inspired ‘Mardi Gras at The Vaults’ and supported Son of Dave at The Jamboree mixing up delta blues and swing to match the harmonica extraordinaire’ diverse influences.
From 2010-present she has co-hosted 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 of the founding members of ‘Mardi Gras Mambo’- this unique collective organised rollicking authentic New Orleans parties packing hundreds into a tropical warehouse space in Hackney. Mardi Gras Mambo has travelled far and wide transplanting their New Orleans events all over England.
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. Baking up 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, 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 and a monthly residency at The Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch.
Photographer: Ella Haller
Musician: DJ Lil' Koko
Venue: Nightjar, Old Street. London