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During the concert, the group’s instrumental inventory included rows of plastic containers, pots and pans and a guitar fashioned out of two cans and a wooden fretboard. Some of the objects were ready to be played with no adjustments, like the metal kitchen pots used for percussion. Others, like the drum kit that features parts of an old air-conditioning unit, took a bit more assembly — the musicians had to go out, collect scraps and combine them into one cohesive instrument.

Perhaps their greatest creation is a “monumental human-size bass harp,” as described by member Xavier Thomas — made from a wooden cross, metal cans and a plastic barrel. They call it “Jesus Crisis,” a humorous reference to evangelical churches in Congo, which Thomas says can get quite “inventive” with their religious interpretations. The harp was made by group member Dido Oweke, who, according to his bandmates, visualizes the instruments he wants to make as sculptures first.

KOKOKO! member Dido Oweke built the “Jesus Crisis” bass harp in 2016. Xavier Thomas hide captiontoggle caption Xavier Thomas

KOKOKO! member Dido Oweke built the “Jesus Crisis” bass harp in 2016.Xavier Thomas

“We brought [the harp] once on tour, but it’s so hard to transport. It’s like moving a house,” says Thomas, also known as Débruit when he does solo electronic music projects. Thomas, originally from France, is the only member of the band not from Congo; he acted as the interpreter for the other musicians interviewed for this story.

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