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
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
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
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
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
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.