Coco Maria is a world-renowned DJ and selector based in Europe. She has played festivals around the world and currently hosts a weekly show on Worldwide FM specializing in Brazilian, South and Central American and Caribbean sounds. This Friday, May 13th, Les Disques Bongo Joe releases Club Coco, a compilation album that pays tribute to the community of listeners she has amassed over the years. Club Coco is full of bright sunny sounds so expertly arranged it could only have come from a DJ.
Club Coco the LP is full of musicians who have been a part of Coco Maria’s shows, artists like Romperayo, Meridian Brothers and even Coco Maria herself. Much like her radio show, the LP features artists who use music to explore cultural and personal connections between Afro-diasporic and Latin American cultures. The tropical rhythms blend with the cosmopolitan experimentation to form a playlist that is as thought-provoking as it is danceable. The artists included in the compilation are all wonderful and showcase exactly what makes Coco Maria a genius selector, but my favourite part was the attention she paid to the experience.
Starting you on the journey is the funky percussion of Nico Mauskovic’s “A Big Brain”. With this intro Coco Maria lets you know you’re in for a party, one that smells of hibiscus and just a little bit of sweat, full of drums and laughter, you can even hear the sounds of laughter in the song. After La Perla’s spirit moving “Guayabo” and Meridian Brothers & Grupo Renacimiento’s jazzy “Bomba Atomica” Coco Maria blesses you with a moment to wipe your brow and grab a cool drink with Graham Mushnik’s “Octopus Dance”, which does kind of sound like someone with eight arms created it. This pattern continues throughout. Coco Maria brings you up for the dance and every 4th song or so lets you relax to a slow groove, finally ending the party with the eccentric cumbias of Romperayo and Malphino so you end your night exactly as it began, laughing and dancing.