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Boko! Boko!: the DJ trio challenging the status quo

09 Jul 2016

While we await the bleak ramifications of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the impact it will have on the music industry, there are still tastemakers committed to making sure that London’s musical landscape remains as a vibrant as the hybrid of Londoners themselves.

Boko! Boko! is a club night set up by a trio of DJs who set out with the aim of providing an inclusive space for girls and women. They play progressive music from around the world, with a particular focus on music from Africa, the Caribbean and South America. Chinwe, Tash and Hannah host regular nights in Brixton and Shoreditch, inviting DJs from London and further afield. Some of their previous acts include Norway’s Trondheim and also selectors from this side of the pond: Rabz, Emily Dust, Terry Juarez, Himitsu, Leeya and Ahadadream.

It’s still shocking that a mere 14 per cent of festival slots go to women, but Boko! Boko! have been compelled to try and counteract this imbalance that also echoes throughout the industry by providing a gender-inclusive policy, ensuring a mix of male and female talent on their rosters. They run workshops and tutorials to actively encourage girls to get involved in DJing and beat making.

We asked them each to tell us about three of their favourite tracks to play at a Boko! Boko! affair.


“I have chosen Tiwa Sawage, because I respect her ethos as an artist within the Afrobeats genre.  It’s hard for women to shine in this genre, as it’s notoriously dominated by the likes of Wizkid, Davido, Olamide – all men – but Tiwa Sawage is really inspiring with her determination to breakthrough. I think she represents the ethos of us Boko! Boko! girls, in terms of challenging the status quo with our craft. Her latest track ‘If I Start To Talk’ is powerful and positive and I really like playing it as an opener to my sets to ease everything in, it’s definitely a fave at the moment.”


“I love this song. It’s fierce. It’s weirdly discordant but simultaneously rhythmic and FB is so sassy. I love the heavy beats of the song, it’s the kind of thing that I like to play at my Boko! Boko! sets. I’m really enthusiastic about the sounds I hear coming out of the South of Africa, especially Afrohouse, because the beats are so sick to dance to. Afrohouse is a bit more atmospheric than the very commercial Afrobeats coming out of West Africa so it’s fun to play them together.” 


“This Brazilian funk song is a throwback to my times spent in Brazil and my obsession with the Americas (South and Central). I absolutely love Brazilian music and while I was there, funky was really popping off. It was everywhere and everyone was dancing the quite scandalous Brazilian twerk. Funk is probably an equivalent to trap and is loved for its grit, fun and adequacy for dancing in the streets so it always goes down well at a Boko! Boko! night. It’s distinctive beat is the type that makes you put your hands on your thighs and do the most ratchet moves and that’s why I love it. I also love these girls in the video with their pum pum shorts and booty poppin’; they just don’t give a f*ck.”


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“Nidia is a fast rising young talent from Angola but brought up in Paris. Easily one of my favourite producers, Nidia is part of the Lisbon label, Principe Discos, who churn out some of the most exciting electronic music I’ve ever heard. Nidia’s Soundcloud is such a great example of her progress from bedroom producer, creating amateur tarraxo beats, to fully fledged Kuduro queen.”


“These guys are guaranteed to feature at least once in every single one of my sets at Boko! Boko!. I first saw them live at a festival in 2014 and they were my window into the world of afro-electronic music, and the main reason I began to DJ. Yaga Sank’s productions blur the line between UK funky and Afrobeat and always get the dance floor shaking.”

“Part of the Man Recordings crew and a lover of Baile Funk, Daniel Haaksman has been a firm favourite for the past couple years. His fun, tropical edits and productions always liven up the room at our parties and he’s collaborated with so many of my favourite artists such as Spoek Mathambo and King Kong. He’s also got a wicked weekly show on Luso FM dedicated to global beats – well worth a listen.:


“Svani is an insanely talented producer from Trondheim, Norway who creates dancehall, reggaeton & R’n’B inspired club music. Her remixes and mashups are always amazing and this one in particular is a stroke of genius. She’s also one of the nicest and most supportive people I’ve met in the industry so far. I think in the music industry it’s very important for women to create networks both on and offline where we can support and encourage each other, because often you can feel quite isolated. We are lucky enough to have Svani playing at our next party.”


“There are so many great dancehall riddims out there at the moment but this is a classic from last year that I still love. It’s the catchiest song ever and I always play it at every party. It always gets everyone dancing and is the perfect track to bust out those acrobatic moves that people like to do at Boko! Boko!.”

“Adipop is another rising producer who we have been blessed to host at one of our parties. Adipop is one half of the Norwegian DJ duo Gymmen who play a wide range of dancehall-inspired house music. This is a super catchy edit of a classic Beyoncé track with a dancefloor-ready beat. There are so many amazing producers coming out of Norway right now. I’d highly recommend checking out Adipop, Svani and Ballo.”

Boko! Boko! will be celebrating their first birthday later this month at Bedroom Bar in Shoreditch on July 30th. Head to the event page to find out more.