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Oko Drammeh

Contact Address:
Oko Drammeh
Founder, African Music Festival
Producer, Soto Koto Music
Kenya +254 713 994 729
Senegal +221 774 569.338
Gambia +220 773.2786
Skype Oko Drammeh
Twitter @OkoDrammeh


Oko Drammeh, the prolific music promotor, has organised more musical concerts and festivals of African musicians than anyone else on the planet.

He has been an outstanding contributor to the expansion and elevation of African music. An ethnomusicologist, disk jockey and producer Oko is famous for organising concerts worldwide, the largest being the yearly African Music Festival that attracts over 10,000 festival goers. Oko is largely credited for the spreading popularity of African music around the world and has continued to encourage African music and its artists via concerts, television programs, festivals, symposiums, and radio

Oko was born in the tiny West Africa country called The Gambia. During his early career he worked as a disk jockey for nightclubs, radio stations, and social gatherings. Later, he was appointed as the promotions manager and producer of a Gambian band named Infang Bondi (formerly Super Eagles), through which he garnered more knowledge about the Gambian music landscape. In 1981, he relocated to the Netherlands to be reunited with his family. While in Europe, he grasped that Ifang Bondi and African music on the whole, was distinctive and could contest with music from other areas of the world.

This is what encouraged him to organise the African Music festival in 1983. Drammeh correctly foresaw that there would be a growing interest in African music throughout the world and he wanted to be at the forefront in providing it a stage that made African music and its artists, more accessible to the world.

In the ensuing years the festival increased in popularity in Europe by attracting more than 10,000 people annually and becoming one of the world’s biggest African music events, showcasing musical artists, dancers and drummers from throughout Africa. Most of the major names in African music including Angelique Kidjo, Osibisa, Franco, Lucky Dube, Miriam Makeba, Mory Kante, Papa Wemba and a plethora of others, have performed on the festivals’ stages.

The festival became one of Holland's largest tourist venues, garnering the support of the City of Delft and the Dutch Ministry of Culture. As a result, Drammeh has received many awards from federal and regional governments. The festival then extended to the city of Amsterdam under the heading African Feeling Concert Series, which showcased African artists who had made it into the American and European music charts. The concerts were hosted at Paradiso Rock Concert Hall, presenting Africa's greatest performers such as Youssou Ndour, Jaliba Kuyateh, Salif Keita, and Manu Dibango

Because of its increased fame, the festival made its first opening in Hollywood, California, U.S.A, in 1997 at the John Anson Ford Theatre, and was received with great enthusiasm. Drammeh was given a certificate of honour by the California Senate for organising the African Music festival in the United States.

Encouraged by these successes Oko Drammeh brought the festival to China at the Nanning Music Festival. Following its success of the Nanning Music Festival, he was asked to organise a Convention of Music and Arts in Beijing with the objective of teaching Chinese people on organising pop events, festivals and other cultural events.

During his time in China, Drammeh toured the country and created local partnerships in 2009. That same year, the Soto Koto Band was invited to Japan to launch the city of Kyoto as the Earth's green city. Soto Koto also performed in two concerts in the capital Tokyo.

In his private quest to find the roots of Afro-Cuban, Reggae and Calypso music, Drammeh went on a cultural tour in the Caribbean Islands of Dominica, Antigua, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba the Bahamas and Martinique.

On top of producing a handful of albums for the Soto Koto Band, Drammeh has also produced documentary programs about African culture and Music for the UK's BBC, has organized a considerable number of symposiums, concerts, festivals, and other cultural exhibitions. He has also written articles for the U.S Downbeat Magazine. Drammeh also gave lectures in Austin, Texas and was presented with an honorary doctorate degree of arts from the University of Texas.

In his ongoing journey to promote African music, Drammeh has contributed greatly to the African performing arts sector, especially in his place of birth, The Gambia. In 2000, he was elected as the public relations officer of the Gambia Music Union and gained re-election in 2010.

When the Union of Gambian Musicians (MUSIGAM) was established in 2008, Drammeh was elected as their Public Relations Officer. He played a critical part in the founding of the Gambia Copyright Office where he served as its secretary until 2012. That same year, Drammeh was elected as the Secretary General of the just founded Royalty Collecting Society of The Gambia.

As at the end of 2017 he was serving on the board of directors as the Public Relations Officer of the Arterial Network of The Gambia. It is an Pan-African network of individual artists, organisations, firms and festivals engaged in the cultural and creative arts sector throughout the continent.

Drammeh is an artistic consultant at Le Centre Culturel Régional Blaise Senghor in Dakar, Senegal. The venue is a performing arts school specialised in teaching theatre, classical dance, film, drama and comedy.

The Gambian Ministry of Youth and Sport, in recognition and appreciation of his exceptional contribution and outstanding commitment and involvement in Youth Development, decided to appoint Oko Drammeh as The Gambia's Plenipotentiary Goodwill Ambassador.

He's convinced that there is big potential in the African arts field and is resolutely committed to promoting the arts and working artists. Due to his enthusiasm for African music and the great efforts he has taken to put global focus on African music throughout his career, Oko Drammeh has gained the esteemed position he holds in the music industry around the world as a music promoter of distinction.

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