My music video set to a live performance of my song Zanzibar
Featuring Yacouba Sissoko-Kora, Marcus Machado-Guitar and Justa Lujwangana-Spoken Word Poetry

  • Kokugonza Mugarula
  • Marcus Machado
  • Vicky Machado
  • Sean Emmanuel Lewis
  • Justa Lujwangana
  • Kou Gonza
    Name of Band or Artist
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • New York
    September 15, 2021
    NYFA City Artist Grant
  • New York
    June 1, 2022
    Creative Rebuild New York Guaranteed Income Grant
Director Biography

D’Anglelico endorsed guitarist/singer songwriter Koku Gonza is a Tanzanian-American afro soul artist based in Brooklyn. Blending Afrobeat, R&B and neo-soul, her sultry and culturally-rich sound has been described by as “making the beauty of the African diaspora audible”.

Drawing comparison to the neo-soul vibes of Sade, Corinne Bailey Rae and Miriam Makeba, Koku Gonza’s acclaimed debut album ‘Radiozophrenic’ first released in 2012: her single ‘L.O.V.E.’ was globally circulated on platforms including MTV World Music and BET International. She has since released 5 independent projects, sang with Grammy award-winning artists and toured internationally, including a performance at Italy’s famous Umbria Jazz Festival in 2019.

Koku Gonza grew up in a music-filled home with multi-instrumentalist parents, which created a powerful foundation for her musical creativity. She began playing piano at the age of four, later falling in love with guitar playing in college. As kids, her sisters and brothers would hold jam sessions together, listening to a variety of music from afrobeats and reggae to folk, blues and classical. The afro-soul artist recalls that whenever her father brought a new drum home from Tanzania, she would watch as he composed and recorded his own music in their basement.

Motivated by love, culture, nature and beauty, and creatively influenced by artists like Sade, Burna Boy, Stevie Wonder and Prince, Koku Gonza’s warm and soulful Tanzanian roots are tangible in every one of her heartfelt tracks. Her artist name derives from a common Haya tribe name meaning ‘the one who loves’.

Koku Gonza is currently working on her first post pandemic EP. She is partnering with Ghanian Bassist Emmanuel “Nee” Tetteh. They are blending Ghanian high life, Swahili Soul and R&B sounds on the upcoming project due in May 2023.

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Director Statement

Koku Gonza shares her perspective of Africa through music. She dedicates her time to sharing knowledge about Africa through her social media platform. She wants to create more opportunities to negate the negative stereotypes about Africa and enhance the visibility of creative African women.