Grupo Lokito

GL Cheltenham Singers

Grupo Lokito fuse contemporary Congolese and Cuban music creating a modern day cocktail of two of the great world musics.

‘Grass roots music played with gusto. Live entertainment at its best.’ – Chilli Fiesta


Based in London, the band have taken the UK by storm, wowing festivals and the club circuit alike with their blistering grooves and outlandish dance moves.
The glorious melodious vocals of Congolese front men Eugene Makuta and Iddo Donnatella blends with soaring guitars courtesy of Congolese guitar hero Mbokalia, rhythmic grooves from Shyam and the lilting keyboards of Sara. All of this sits on top of the rhythmic powerhouse team of Ernesto (drums), Emeris (Congas) and Elpidio (bass).
Since their formation in 2006 the band have gone from strength to strength, completing several UK tours and building a solid following. As if the grooves weren’t enough, the band have developed a rapport with their audiences which gets everyone up on their feet. This was reflected in the band being named Tropical Act of the Year 2017 by the UK Lukas Awards. For large gigs and Festival the band expands to include the blistering horn section of Deanna Wilhelm (trumpet), Clare Hirst (sax) and Viva Msimang ( trombone).

Grupo Lokito write their own original tunes: stories of life ranging from love tales, reflections on the trials facing musicians trying to make a home away from home, the wisdom of the elders to the simple joy of dancing.
During lockdown in the UK amidst the Coronavirus pandemic Grupo Lokito were awarded Arts Council Funding which is enabling them to work through lockdown, writing and recording new material with the aim of releasing an album towards the end of 2020.
The first in a series of releases to come out is Yoka! A stomping dance track from Grupo Lokito to lift your spirits. The track features the amazing guitar skills of the wonderful Kiamfu ‘ Burkina Faso’ Kasongo. A great summer anthem, you will dance!
Our second single to come out in 2020 is ¡Lo Que Pasó! A hot salsa tune with a Congolese flavour. The song is a taster of whats to come on the forthcoming album.
Bolingo Ya Londres is our third single, a song celebrating London life. It is an upbeat number in typical Congolese Rumba style, with a lyrical verse leading into a lively chorus before hitting the dancing part – the seben.
In 2010 the band released their first album “Esengo Ya Ko Bina” (The Joy of Dancing) capturing the vibrancy and spirit of their stage show. Grupo Lokito have been included in several compilation CDs including: “Latin Beat” on Putumayo (Aug 30 2011), “Urban Africa” on Cavendish Music (2010) and “The Rough guide to African Street Party “ on the World Music Network (2008).






Lokito Horns


Eugene Makuta and Iddo Donnatella – Vocals

Ernesto Marichales – Drums and Percussion

Emeris Solis – Percussion

Elpidio Alegria – Bass

Sara McGuinness – Keyboards/Bandleader

Kiamfu ‘ Burkina Faso’ Kasongo – Guitars

Shyam ‘Jamrock’ Shah – Rhythm Guitar

Extended band includes the blistering horn section:

Deanna Willhelm

Viva Msiming

Clare Hirst



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“Grupo Lokito provided the perfect mood to make us forget about the cold outside during the Southbank Centre Winter festival: our audience was thrilled with their incredible rhythms and beautiful melodies. Definitely a headline act worth booking!”
Natasha Riordan-Eva (Event Organiser), Southbank Centre, 23rd December 2018
“We invited Lokito as the main act of our 3rd African Evening in Aid of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and what an amazing choice that was!  Their whole performance was outstanding and there was not a single person seated in a venue with nearly 300 people.  Everyone felt compelled to dance and join in with their amazing music, a mixture of Congolese and Latin rhythms.  Lokito were incredibly animated and knew how to get the audience to enjoy themselves with their dancing, their music and their encouragement for audience participation.  The feedback was very positive and everyone said they would love to see them again as they brought to Norwich a fresh and wonderful taste of Africa.  It was a total musical treat, and it helped us to create a unique event which raised over £1900 for MSF. Well done Lokito for bringing so much happiness to all of us while helping us to raise money for an amazing cause.  “
Dr. Beatriz de la Iglesia and Michael Gyapong (Event organisers), Fundraiser for Medecins Sans Frontieres, Norwich 18 Feb 2017
“On a baking hot Saturday Grupo Lokito took to the stage in the early evening and lifted the sun soaked Rhythmtree audience from their seats with their irresistible mix of Cuban and Congolese styles.  It’s a sparkling, very natural and catchy combination of styles and when it’s delivered with this much panache, verve and good time confident gusto by a band who love what they do and are at the top of their game the result is a joyous celebration and wide smiles all round. Group Lokito have matured into a truly great band and were, amidst strong competition, one of the stand out hits of our festival weekend.”
Pete Holden, Rhythmtree Festival, Isle Of Wight 18 July 2015
“Grupo Lokito rounded off the first ever ¡VAMOS! Leeds with a real feel good vibe of Congolese and Latino rhythms. Tightly delivered and with an infectious spirit and warm energy they were the perfect headliner!”
Nik Barrera, Vamos Festival Leeds 1 August 2015
“Kudos to the entire Grupo Lokito team! You guys put up an incredibly outstanding performance last saturday at the Vamos Festival in Leeds! Haven’t come across a multi-talented team who can do variety of music genres! May you guys continue to grow to greater heights!”
Audience member Vamos Festival Leeds 1 August 2015
‘Grupo Lokito outshone a wealth of good latin based groups during the Chilli Fiesta.  It is almost impossible to remain seated during their performance.  Their mix of Congolese/Cuban rhythms and beat backed by superb authentic vocals is astounding.  I have lived and worked in South America and sub Saharan Africa for over twenty years but have never heard such grass roots music played with such gusto here in England.  Entertainment at its best.’
Audience member, Chilli Fiesta, 7 August 2015

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