NEW ZEALAND BLUES & BBQ FESTIVAL 2023

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Joining the lineup: Kokomo

Kokomo is a long-standing Kiwi blues & roots group, based in New Zealand’s sunny Bay of Plenty.
The band has toured all over and released 15 albums and a full-length concert film.
This is also home for cult duo The Self-Righteous Brothers and other side-projects from Kokomo members.

Hailing from the sunny Bay of Plenty, blues ‘n’ roots band Kokomo (originally “Kokomo Blues”) is one of New Zealand’s most respected and in-demand blues ‘n’ roots bands, renowned for dynamic live shows and smart distinctive song-writing. Since forming last millennium there have been fifteen album and a live concert film, and the band has toured extensively throughout New Zealand, performing at the country’s major rock, blues, jazz and folk festivals.

Kokomo was formed in 1991 after a chance performance at the National Jazz Festival. Derek Jacombs had been invited to present a set of solo blues and brought Grant Bullot to join him. The concert turned into a runaway success and they decided to form a full-time band to spread their love of acoustic blues.

Later that year the band set out on the road with a “we play anywhere” policy, which saw them playing around 200 shows a year, everywhere from Great Barrier Island and the smallest country towns to Auckland’s Aotea Centre. And they started recording. That set the scene for following years. 

Between touring the band has released fifteen albums, a live concert DVD and several singles. The first two albums were collections of traditional blues, while subsequent releases predominantly feature the band’s own songs while occasionally dipping back into the blues world. The band has also grown from an acoustic trio into an acoustic/electric five-piece, most recently with the arrival of Argentinian guitarist Santiago Rebagliati in 2021.  

Along the way Radio New Zealand has recorded several programmes focusing on Kokomo’s music, including an in-depth full episode of RNZ’s New Horizons that explores the band’s history. They have appeared on various TV channels and Kokomo’s music has also been used as the soundtrack for projects as diverse as TV gardening shows and surfing videos. It has also featured on such popular programmes as Shortland Street.

They have also played with and supported a number of overseas blues and jazz acts, including Georgie Fame, Richard O’Brien, Doug McLeod, Keb Mo, Buddy Guy, Mississippi Willie Foster, The LeRoi Brothers, Hans Theessink, New Orleans singer Lillian Boutte, Hawaiian steel wizard Ken Emerson, and legendary guitarist Amos Garrett (Butterfield Blues Band). 

On the local front they have performed and toured with the likes of Roy Phillips (Peddlers), Hammond Gamble, Dragon, Jan Preston, Midge Marsden, Shona Laing, Barry Saunders, Mike Cooper and many others. 

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