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Operating well beyond the remit of alt-folk, Cocos Lovers (pronounced Co-Coss) are a distinctive musical force, seamlessly channelling influences from Africa, the US Deep South and several other real and imagined corners of the globe, while staying ever faithful to their Kentish roots. Hailing from the small but musically rich town of Deal, they are a close-knit 7-piece band of family, friends and former au pairs. Their music swells with powerful choir-like harmonies and glorious widescreen melodies, and they’ve earned a reputation for fantastic live performances with an ever-changing instrumental line-up of mandolin, banjo, acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, violin, saw, flute and a unique blend of percussion.
Cocos Lovers have become big festival favourites with performances at Glastonbury, Cambridge Folk Festival, Green Man Festival and Sidmouth Folk Week, to name but a few. They’ve toured the UK and Europe to great acclaim, supported Mumford and Sons and Stealing Sheep, count Laura Marling and BBC6’s Guy Garvey, Cerys Matthews and Tom Robinson amongst their fans, and have received further airplay on various American, European and Antipodean radio networks.
Their debut album, Johannes, was conceived in 2008 when the newly-formed group quit their regular jobs and ventured out on an odyssey around Europe. They busked the streets of countless towns, worked on farms, stayed in squats and communes and wrote music inspired by their experiences. After 6 months away, having nearly been enticed into an eccentric spiritual cult, a sobering visit home opened their eyes to the power of their own community and the effect their new music had within it. They stayed in Deal and formed the co-operative Smugglers Records to pool skills with like-minded local talent (Smugglers Records has gone on to release 15 records, put on hundreds of music nights across the Southeast and established its own sell-out Smugglers Festival). The band’s new material and sound crystallised and Johannes was released in spring 2010, winning For Folk’s Sake’s album of the year poll and much critical acclaim:
‘Kent Coast Folk with an African Twist’ – The Independent
‘Lively and incredibly infectious’ ... ‘Full of spiraling songs to be danced to in a field or enjoyed at home for their life and unassumingly poetic lyrics.’ – Maverick
‘A thing of beauty.... Far from being a traditional folk record, Johannes is a multicultural affair, taking in musical styles from all around the world. And it is all the richer for this fact.’ – BBC Kent
‘Sweet music indeed.’ – Rock’n’Reel
‘In Elephant Lands Cocos Lovers have shown diversity and composure, eloquence and emotion in abundance. They have managed to build on the successes of the first album and deliver a more mature, considered and assured album of remarkable complexity.’ – contactmusic
‘They are wonderful. *****’ – Maverick
Following a line-up tweak in 2012 the band started work on new songs, secluding themselves in intimate co-composition at a woodland camp on the site of their own Smugglers Festival.
With recording begun in the autumn, their most complete and exciting album is on its way in 2013.