With the music and movement of the Kamba people from Kenya’s Machakos district as north star, Nairobi-hailing DJ/producer Coco Em explored her abilities as a producer during the doldrums of COVID-19 lockdowns, along with a newfound appreciation for the many directions her creative calling has taken her. “An album I started writing during the height of the pandemic in 2020, Kilumi explores elements of different sounds that kept me going in a very difficult year,” she tells Apple Music. Whittled down from 70 ideas, Kilumi showcases fellow Kenyan crooners in MC Sharon, Janice Iche, Ladbi and more, delivering a series of seven wonders in this debut EP. Incorporating amapiano’s lethal log drums in “Winyo Nungo” as well as trap-tastic tones in “Keep the Pace” along with the valleys and peaks present throughout the bass-driven title track, “Kilumi”, Coco Em creates a rich representation of her sonic tastes. “Land (Black) First” borders on protest, carrying themes of ownership and self-love, further bolstering the femme-strong foundation of the EP’s bearing as she blurs the frontiers of time and space, generation and genre to lay out an atlas of sounds that make up her internal world.

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