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Posted - 31 Jul 2012 :  07:28:44  Show Profile Send tiramakhan a Private Message

Everything you always wanted to know about

April 2012 The Gambia was to celebrate the first International Kora Festival, a 2-week cultural extravaganza of unheard proportions, brainchild of Oko Drammeh - or rather Dr. Oko Drammeh. After months of heavy international promotion the event inexplicably vanished into thin air.
The First International Kora Festival turned out  to be another one of Dr.O's notorious hoaxes, the latest in line with his many American/Caribbean/Chinese/Japanese festivals, that never happened.
However, this hoax definitely beats all! 
Prompting major music websites into hyping the 2-week extravaganza, to be headlined by Mory Kante and dozens of other artists, most of them, including Mory Kante, completely oblivious themselves of the festival.
Prompting overseas travel agencies into offering special all-in festival travel packages to The Gambia.
Triggering high expectations for a major boost to local small-scale tourist industry.

Successive official festival dates as announced by Dr. O were as follows: 
14 April - kick off with Mory Kante 
16-19 April, 
28 April - 5 May, 
25 May - 2 June. 
On 18 May Dr.O coolly cancels the whole event - the usual grand finale to his projects - no doubt after pocketing a handsome fee for his visionary concept and/or an advance on festival proceeds.
Insiders to Dr. O's modus operandi immediately recognize the tried and tested Dr. Cuckoo formula.
Meanwhile it seriously harms the cultural sector of The Gambia, worsening it's already poor image of professional incompetence and backwardness. 
Unfortunately that's not how most Gambians perceive it - they are just eagerly awaiting the next show of Emperor Oko's new clothes!

Dr.O's career can be summarized as follows:
His actual involvement with Gambian music lasted only from the late 60s until the early 80s. After his job as a nightclub dj and a stint with Ifang Bondi as a junior worker in the late 70s, Dr.O got involved with a Dutch lady, ending up in Holland were he embarked on the African Music Festival venture in his hometown Delft. From the beginning the festival was marred by (financial) mismanagement - it got blacklisted by music professionals with international artists refusing to perform (again) after artists and suppliers alike were left unpaid, and it got cancelled on several occasions. 
His checkered career with the African Music Festival ended in a legal battle and his removal from the festival in 1999, after which he never got to organize any other festival. Over a period of 20+ years he booked a few low-key gigs for Jaliba Kuyateh and staged a number of other incidental events - invariably/euphemistically described as "tour" and/or "festival". 
Besides some old posters and reviews/questionable certificates and dozens of narcissist pictures of himself on his own website, 4 mediocre recordings, and 3  flopped tours - for Paps Touray/Abdel Kabir/Jaliba - there is no verifiable evidence whatsoever for all of Dr.O's professed successes during the last 30 years, justifying his obsessive claim to fame. 
So much for the "leading Music Producer who - according to his profile - has  organized Music Festivals more than any other African producer in Europe and the U.S.A., all over the world including China, Japan, The Caribbean, Asia and throughout Europe." 
So much for his contributions to Gambian music.

A nonentity in the real music industry, Dr.O compensates by inventing on the internet a virtual career and a larger than life image as Most Famous African Producer - self-portrayed as the "Bill Graham of African music" (the legendary BG being one of the biggest promoters of rock music ever). 
His recent barrage of interviews and stories on himself and renowned Gambian musicians for the Gambian press/media is not at all meant to enlighten the locals, but meant to distribute them to as many websites as possible - using the local media to launder his nonsense.
Meanwhile local journalists go out of their way to oblige Dr.O - although even a child can see through his bluff, and it only takes a few Google clicks to unmask his fabrications.

To firmly anchor his self-glorification he hijacked the name and fame of Ifang Bondi and the Super Eagles, after which he started to rewrite the bands' history, assigning himself a pivotal role as to provide himself with a glamorous pedigree. 
With his own departure from Ifang Bondi early 1981 he proclaimed the band Ifang Bondi to all intents and purposes defunct, notwithstanding for decades to come the band went from height to height. His repeated announcements of the band's demise didn't keep him from snatching songs from the "defunct" Ifang Bondi for his own Soto Koto production.

Particularly appalling is the way Dr.O targets Ifang Bondi and Super Eagles musicians - many of whom he didn't even know - in his newspaper stories. Reducing the artists to caricatures by making up all kind of bizarre and insulting stuff about their professional career as well as their lives and personalities, in essence conducting a regular character assassination. On top of that he adds some major crap on the subject of music, as to performing/composing/instruments/technology/production, which - besides revealing his own shocking lack of musical knowledge - shows his contempt for the readers' intelligence.


It's about time to come to know the real Dr.O, gladly accepting Dr.O's invitation “Let those who know me well say what those who don’t know me would want to know about me" .
As no one is better qualified to reveal the truth than the Music Pundit himself, below 3 recent interviews with Dr.O.

These show Dr.O's total commitment to the perfection of his avatar, the Global Phenomenon of Doctor Honoris Causa OKO, the Most Celebrated, Famous, Successful, Beloved, Brilliant, Award-winning African Promoter, (Ethno-)Musicologist, Historian, University Lecturer, Plagiarist Extraordinaire, Musician, Composer, Songwriter, Producer, Record Label Owner, Media Mogul, Notorious Internet Scammer, Journalist, Educator, Writer, Film maker, Architect, Innovator, Evangelist, Sport Hero, Child Prodigy, Politician etc. etc.,  ever to grace the earth.

[Dr. O's most noteworthy statements are in bold print, additional comments in blue.
The "Bantaba" mentioned in the interviews is a column of the Daily Observer, not the Forum site.]


Hatab Fadera      Friday, September 23, 2011

Born to the family of Mr. Kebba Landing Drammeh (chief engineer then at the Gambia Marine) and Ya Aret Mboge (political activist as head of the female wing of the Gambia Muslim Congress) on June 23rd, 1952, at 22 Hagan Street in Banjul, Oko Drammeh is a star, the all-time African music promoter and has produced more music concerts of African artists than anyone in the world. 
Drammeh accurately predicted an increase in the popularity of Africa's music. Although there were few African musicians known outside of Africa when he began the African Music Festival in Amsterdam, Oko has continued to broaden the exposure of African artists to the world through festivals, concerts, radio and TV programs, educational conferences, symposiums and now through the Internet and emerging media.
The Gambian-born international is a music producer for Higher Octave Music of Hollywood, California and distributed by Virgin Music Group USA and EMI records in UK. 
Oko is one of the leading promoters of African music festivals in the world  and his festival in Amsterdam, launched in 1983, has grown into a major event, drawing more than 10,000 people annually [in reality only 5,000, compared to other African festivals in Europe drawing over 150,000 crowds]
He organized the first African Music Festival in the United States, holding the fete at the John Anson Ford Theater Hollywood in Los Anglese in September 1997. 

In 2001 he moved the African Music Festival from the city of Delft to Amsterdam at the Paradiso together with U.S. partner Lasting Value Company, in a three-day event [in reality only 1 day, attracting a crowd of a few 100, check video of the main act featuring musicians from South Africa, Congo, Ghana, Gambia, Senegal and several other countries. The festival has featured the major artists in African music as well as the lesser known master musicians from all over Africa.
The African Music Festival has featured stars like Angelique Kidjo, Fela Kuti, Manu Dibango, Osibisa, Franco & the O.K. Jazz, Bembeya Jazz, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and the new generation of artists, including the late Lucky Dube, Salif Keita, Youssou N'Dour, Mory Kante, Kofi Olomide, Papa Wemba, Thione Seck, Ali Farka Toure, Toure Kunda, Ifang Bondi, Super Diamano and Alpha Blondy. 
Oko presented the African Music Festival Stage in China in 2005 and in 2008 in Japan.[Just a lie] There he toured Asia and opened offices with partners in China. He toured over 90 countries and 5 continents including Europe, North & South America, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and on an African cultural tour of Jamaica, Dominica, Martinique, Guadalupe and the Virgin Islands.
Presently Oko Drammeh is in the Gambia trying to promote local events and young and upcoming artists in the Gambia and also scouting for new talents.

Bt: Give us a brief history of the Gambian music scene?
OkoI am Oko Drammeh – I have been a producer and promotion manager for the well known Gambian musical band Ifang Bondi[In actual fact only a junior employee, assistant to their manager Pa Lamin]  However before Infang Bondi I was a night club disc jockey playing music and entertaining crowds for many years in The Gambia. Working with the Infang Bondi I have traveled the length and breath of the Gambia and Senegal working with community groups, youth groups, social organizations, religious organizations, educational institutes and so on organizing fundraising activities to enhance culture in this country. 
During this period, I was able to discover what a music scene is like […]
This is what we call a scene because we were not able to record our music, film our events and there was no government institute as well as legal organizations to protect the music from copy right [Nonsense, the copyright organization BSDA in Senegal, where Gambian composers routinely register their works, exists already since the 50s] and also manufacturing music to make CDs [CDs didn't exist in the 70s]. All what we did was gracing occasions and play live shows and private dance galas. We never had an industry but a music scene which was very active and lively.

Bt: But do we have a strong music industry in the Gambia as we are talking now?
Oko: We are heading towards that because the industry has to be something that works hand in hand with the government and also have legal apparatus. Presently, I am engaged in a series of meetings with Sheriff Gomez [Youth and Sport minister] and a committee of youth leaders who are involve in music and management. 
What we are doing is to create and industry whereby all the different components of music – band managers, studio owners, musicians, composers, filmmakers etc are in place. We are encouraging each of them to have their own associations so that when we have 5 to 10 we will form a federation which will be working with the Gambia government. It is only through this that government can bring in money and build institutions - arts academy or creating a performing hall etc. 
It is not easy to support one artist at a time because everyday we get more new talents which must be catered for. So we do not have the industry yet but at the ministerial [Youth and Sports] level we are working to structure this properly and I think working with the National Council of Arts and Culture, its copy right office [he himself consistently rips off copyright protected material - music, text, visual content], we are trying to have an industry whereby Gambian music will be 70 percent on the radio and institutions that exploit music using for commercial purpose will pay fees to the copy right office and then 70 percent of that money will be sent back to the artist as income to support their livelihood. [Official copyright organizations pay 100% of the collected royalties to composers; apparently Dr.O already sets 30% of Gambian royalties aside for himself as a "stakeholder"] 
So industry is taking a baby step; it will grow but we are still functioning as a scene at the moment.
Bt: Mr. Drammeh in 1983 of course you organized the first African Music Festival in Europe, Holland. What was the inspiration or motivation behind such an initiative?
Oko: I left the Gambia in 1981 to Europe to meet my family. I was then educated by Ifang Bondi Jazz Band[Ifang Bondi was anything but a jazz band!] Whilst I was in the Gambia working with this jazz band, I happened to know that their music was unique to the world and that the style of the music they were playing was competitive to other brands of music we have in Africa like the afrobeat from Nigeria, the soukous music from Congo etc. Suddenly the Gambia came with the afromanding sound. 
So I had this full confidence that if all these music brands can compete in Europe, how about the afromanding sound? So because of this confidence I had in that music and the supreme talents of the individuals, who were in that band, I went to Europe, and in 1983 after I had settled properly, I decided to invite the band to this Festival as well as other African musician giants like Manu Dibango from Cameroon, the saxophonist, who is one of the greatest musicians in the world, an artist who Michael Jackson even copied his music and perform it at the time “Do you wana start something.” […]
My festival was the first of its kind to be a platform for African artists. [Nonsense, there were already numerous big world music festivals in place, featuring most of the African artists afterwards to be staged by Dr.O] There was a platform for Salsa music of South America, there was a platform for reggae and calypso music of the Caribbean, but there was no platform for African music except theatre and ballet dancing. So with my initiative I introduced the first African Music Festival in Europe and I make it a platform for all of Africa to showcase their talents and culture to the world.

Bt: And how has this initiative of yours helped leading African musicians invited to this festival in terms of engineering them in the development of their career?
Oko: Whenever I organize a festival I follow the way the world is organizing events. What I did was I had a press team and we had press kits including the biographies of the groups [bands], their photographs and during these press conferences, I would talk about the predictions of the future of African music. In this predictions I would mention names like Salif Keita, who is a young guy [in his late 30s with already an international career by then…] working in Mali with ambassadors and one day he would be big artist; I also mentioned about Youssour Ndour, a young Senegalese musician who one day would be big artist; I talked about Mori Kanteh, Guinean Kora player etc. 
I forecasted and predicted accurately that African music would take center stage in the world through my festival, my intellectual artistic and cultural background information. So the festival was received by the media and secondly the Dutch government and many European governments had an agenda in arts and culture. With their agenda and the funds allocated for research and information, they gave me their ear and the financial support to structure this festival properly and use it as a form of information and education and to also empower their radio and television services [nonsense, the festival always remained a strictly local affair, receiving limited municipal funding only]; something that has elevated the status of the festival to world level. So each year all the African artists would contact me instead of me contacting them to come to the festival. So this festival has created a source of income for the artists [nonsense, considering the meagre fees Dr. O offered, with many artists still waiting for their money!] and propelled some of them to become national icons and own TV stations in their countries.
The late Lucky Dube of South Africa, Youssour Dnour of Senegal have become household names in their countries whereby they are able to create institutions for educating (through) mass media and this is all coming through my initiative and knowledge

Bt: And will you beat your chest today to say that yes you are behind the success of some of these artists who attended your festival?
Oko: [Laughs] Oh yes I can beat my chest as you said and I am behind the success of 90 percent of the African artists [In reality 99,99 % of African artists have no clue who  Dr.O is. The remaining 0,01% rather forget about him as quick as possible] because many of them their names are obscured names. In some foreign countries, if you say Oko Drammeh for instance is not like John or Thomas. They are more used to European names and many of the artists if I mentioned them first it becomes a laughing matter. [Rubbish] But as time goes on these artists prove themselves and their names become more familiar with the Europeans. 
Also most of these artists are very grateful to me – they call me and are always in close contact with me. For example when I go to Senegal, Youssour Ndour really is very receptive to me – he gives me private car to go around, take care of me and this is the same thing if I go to Nigeria or elsewhere. Thank God I have visited most of the African countries and the superstars of those countries always introduce me to their heads of states, their ministers to say that this Oko who has help us greatly.

Bt: Mr. Drammeh this brings me to this question – in 1985 you invited Youssour Ndour to Holland. What was your continued relationship with him?
Oko: When I mentioned Youssour Ndour’s name before 1985 they asked who is that and then I said I will bring him one day. So I organized a show in Paradiso, a hall in Amsterdam, Holland which is called a rock palace where famous artist play, I invited him [Ndour] there and then I organized a tour of Holland for the Senegalese artist. In this event, I also invited my friends from the BBC [British Broadcasting Cooperation], leading journalists from musical papers that are consumed by the whole nation of the United Kingdom to the festival to see these new phenomena. When Youssour Ndour played in my festival and he toured throughout the Nietherlands, he extended his tour to Denmark. I had  a friend by the name of  Mr. Kenday, Danish – he organized a tour for Youssour in Denmark too. [The real story: American Ken Day was not at all his friend, but Youssou's renowned international tour manager for many years - in the 90s also agent for Ifang Bondi. Ken organized Youssou's massive 1985 international tour, including performances at all major festivals such as Danish' Roskilde (200.000 audience, 40 times bigger than Dr.O's party) - featuring dozens of the biggest international stars.]

Bt: I understand that the late Lucky Dube, a South African reggae superstar was your artist as a manager. How did you come into contact with the South African music?
Oko: I came into contact with South African music through the late Miriam Makebba and her former husband Hugh Masekela, who is a trumpetist and the first African artist to have a number one hit in the United States. After my familiarization with South African music, I worked with South African poets, dance groups, various organizations in that country.
 Discovering Lucky Dube was just a stepping stone in the mileage because I discovered him very young and his manager was his dancer. So it’s like a small street group. They went to Washington D.C to a club called Kilimanjaro and I was in Washington D.C and I am a friend of the manager; so I saw them perform there – very energetic, disorganized, but still very enthusiastic. So I decided to bring them in Holland in 1994 and gave them lots of concerts as well as guidelines[The real story: in 1994 LD was a international megastar, global multi-platinum sales, winning loads of awards, touring worldwide 
In fact I changed Lucky Dube’s uniform [military dress] into African-Gambian tie and dye – Laughs.So he started wearing batiks tie and dye. [Another fabrication: apart from his battle dress, LD donned expensive suits, never Gambian tie-and-dye]
I am very close to his family, his children to this point. His wife who is from Tanzania is my friend, but I gave Lucky a lot of shows in America [another lie] especially in Los Angeles in a place called Hollywood Live [a local nightclub] where he performed. 
When I walk in the streets of Serrekunda and see his clips some of which I participated in the settings, I feel proud to see my seeds germinating in my own country.

Bt: Unfortunately this great African music superstar, Lucky Dube was gruesomely killed in 2007 in his own country. How has this contributed in bringing down the spirit of African music?
Oko: It’s true – when Lucky Dube was killed it affected many people but we must remember one thing – many popular artists died through the cause of violence and maltreatments. [..] This is why when somebody like Lucky Dube was killed, I just think about Jesus Christ and other prophets as well as other great artists who were also killed doing the right things for a just cause for humanity, thus becoming victims of their own success. [Utter nonsense, calling Jesus Christ and other prophets artists, who became victims of their own success…]

Bt: Oko you also visited the Caribbean Islands including Jamaica. How did you see the music of Caribbeans including reggae which is popular in the Gambia?
Oko: I was invited to Kingston Jamaica by Yvonne Barkley of Voice of America [Y. Barclay was a broadcaster in Monrovia, no connection whatsoever to Jamaica] and Jahco Thellwell music producer for Dennis Brown and many. I did interviews for JBC the Jamaica Broadcasting cooperation radio & TV as well as interviews on Irie FM and many station in different perish including St. Ann's, Port-more, St Elizabeth, Montego Bay. […]
I went to Jamaica many times and I lived their on longer periods. When I lived in Los Angeles, I was very much into newspaper, radio and television and such allowed me to go on a research on reggae in Jamaica. [There's no link whatsoever between local media in L.A. and reggae in Jamaica]
When I was in the Caribbean, I traveled all the islands too. What happened is that when I study the reggae I was reflecting to the point that the Gambian bands were playing reggae in the1960s and 70s because many Gambians would travel at the time to the UK free and they would meet the Caribbean communities there; and we also made the same music like the Jamaicans.  So when the Super Eagles staged here and had the number one hit call the ‘Lisa Lisa' [it was neither reggae nor a hit], this hit was so popular that even when the Jamaican reggae superstar, [Jimmy Cliff] came to the Gambia, he was very fascinated by the advancement of reggae in the Gambian capital at the time. [Jimmy Cliff valued Ifang Bondi for their progressive African music, IB never played any reggae]
So when I was in Jamaica I was also following the roots of that brand of reggae – half reggae and half calypso. They called it ska music.[Nonsense, reggae came only after ska]. While there, I visited the Bob Marley Family, the studio and listen to what kind of music they produce. So I had been going around visiting studios in Jamaica checking the history of mento music, which was the original music of the Jamaicans.
 In 1994, when President Jammeh took over I was in Jamaica so I went to the radio station to announce to Jamaica that the Gambia has a new leader, a dynamic revolutionary[Another one of Dr. O's correct prophecies, to materialize months after] So I was not surprised when I saw the president embracing visiting Jamaican artists from Jamaica. If you go back to Jamaica now they all know President Jammeh and they talk highly of him and the country.

Bt: Mr. Drammeh your never-ending search for exploiting music in diversity has also taken you to all the way in Asia including China, where I understand you also organized an event. What can you tell us about this event as well as the exposure?
Oko: In China I did a production for the Chinese government in a place call Naninng, south of China. It was called the Naninng Folk Music Festival.  In this festival I worked as a chief of production and I had to work with the Chinese media – which mean giving information to one billion people. So my office team was very efficient as I worked with people like Michael Chen, Mr. Jun Wang, etc and I invited people from all over the world to come to this festival. [In actual fact Dr. O attended the Nanning International Folk Song Art Festival as a visitor, shaking hand with some locals and sticking the pictures on his website as a proof of his Chinese mega success story]
It was a two-week event and after I did my first festival, I was invited again for a second time  to organize in Beijing a Convention of Music and Arts so that the Chinese people would learn how to organize festivals, how to organize fashionable pop events, cuiltural expositions and anything that relates to culture.[For the better part of 4000 years the Chinese have been struggling to get their act together when it comes to festivals, cultural manifestations and anything relating to culture, until Dr.O rushed in to rescue the nation from the brink of irreversible cultural collapse.]
So in 2009 I was in Beijing to organize tourism for the Chinese government whereby people from Russia and other Islands in the South-East Asia would come to China and see China’s collaboration with Africa. 
So I built African homes with huts, with leaves and palm trees [showing the Russians and other island dwellers the supremacy of Gambian architecture] and I also did a visual room as well as African business club in China so that businessmen who wants to come to Africa can go to this business club to get the information. China is a lovely country. 
For Japan, in the year 2009, my Soto Koto band was invited to Japan to inaugurate the city of Kyoto as the world's Green city. The event was attended by Mikel Gorbachev, the visionary of Perestroika and former President of the Soviet Union. The band performed 2 concerts in Tokyo. [Another lie: Sotokoto is a Japanes eco-magazine/organization whose name he hijacks for the occasion. Dr.O's famous "Soto Koto band" doesn't exist, it's just a list of studio musicians hired for his cd productions.] 


Hatab Fadera      30 September 2011

Hello our esteemed readers and it is a pleasure to welcome you to this edition of Bantaba. We are continuing our interview with Oko Drammeh, Gambian-born international music producer and promoter and founder of the Sotokoto Musical Band of the United States of America. In our part one edition, Drammeh spoke extensively on his career and activities, as well as issues relating to the development of Gambian music. In today's edition we will continue from where we stopped.

Bt: Sotokoto is a Mandinka word. Tell us about the Sotokoto Musical Band of the United States of America?

Oko: Sotokoto is my own private company. The Soto Koto Band is a group of pre-eminent musicians from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas unifying a diverse range of ancient and modern influences. [Dr.O's "Soto Koto band" doesn't exist, it's just a list of studio musicians hired for the fated production with Paps Touray] 
The Soto koto band is to enrich the musical cultures of the world by fusing the energy and the excitement of the music of The Gambia with global sounds of the future.
I started Sotokoto in Banjul because in our compound there was a big 'Soto' tree and the boys who used to sit under that tree were numerous in diversity - sportsmen, musicians, politicians and in fact it is the centre of Banjul. It was my elder brother the late Pindo Drammeh "Sajaro"who gave the name to his social club as the club Soto-koto Vous.
My brother Pindo, a very popular sportsman in Gambian football died in a car accident years ago. Then when I went to America, I brought back the name in the spotlight to give honour to my brother's creativity because he was the first one to recognize the Soto tree.
So I decided to name my music company Soto-koto because I lived in Hollywood, in America celebrating my success in Europe.
Soto Koto concert management was established in 2000 to provide competent technical support services to the international artists and the event industry;  over the years I have successfully planned and managed festival and concert projects in many parts of Europe, Asia, America, Africa and the Caribbean.[Real story: apart from the Delft festival + a couple of concerts in Amsterdam, his 30-year career consists of 6 low-profile gigs for Paps Touray, another 2 for Abdel Kabir, some US gigs for Jaliba Kuyateh, 4 cd productions, but most importantly a continuous outpour of self-glorifying writings.]
In the process, I have significantly expanded both our circle of contacts and knowledge of local regulations and conditions. I am a success story in organising festivals and promoting your concerts.
In 2001, as a result of being unable [due to Dr. O's insolvency] to locally source high quality staging and scenery at an acceptable cost, we decided to establish our own global scenic locations around the wonders of the world, buildings and heritage sites organizing our concerts and festivals in exotic locations around the world. [As 99% of Dr.O's ventures, never getting  beyond the stage of wishful thinking.]
Hollywood is the center of world music and there you have the likes of late Michael Jackson [looking ever so ghostly], Arnold Schwarzeneggger [a world music heavyweight, dabbling in politics on the side], 50 Cents, James Brown [looking equally ghostly], Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone [another world music celeb] who had offices in that one street on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.
Here I had my office too working with my partners at 8033 Sunset, suite #41 [quite cramped accommodations, no. 8033 being nothing but a postal address, shared by some 50 companies], as this , Los Angeles, California like any of them. So in Sunset Boulevard, is where you have the offices of the top movie actors like Elizabeth Taylor, Quincy Jones, the Rolling Stones, and Bruce Willis etc.
These are the people who I shared office location with and I was operating at a magnitude of their level.[The "shared" office location is over 40 km long; besides, top movie actors tend not to sit in offices slaving away behind pcs.] 
 I am a Gambian there managing superstar artists [who, when, where?] who play in various albums. Many of my musicians play with great artists like Cellin Dion, Stars like Seal, Byonce, and Michael Jackson and so on. 
So being in the Hollywood I came to interact with all these people and when I brought my idea of forming an African band with talented American artists - they were very excited [quite rightly so, the ultimate African band formed by talented Americans, Dr.O's genius at work in the field of human genetic engineering].
So we formed a group called the Sotokoto Band and whenever I have an idea I bring it to them which they will formulate into a Jazz, Rock, hip hop and industry sound.[Check this rare recording, providing (circumstantial) evidence of the existence of the Sotokoto Band Live[
I was very much in love of my country and I decided to use these resources to empower and to promote Gambian musicians. The first [and last] Gambian artists I introduced were Abdul Kabir, Paps Touray and Jaliba Kuyateh.
I really made sure that Hollywood hear their music and have their music album crafted in Hollywood for timeless purposes. All the albums I made in the Hollywood are crafted forever - they will never go out of taste. They are timeless and the quality never dies.

Bt: As you highlighted, I could remember a clip produced by the Sotokoto featuring Jaliba Kuyateh. How has such helped the Kora maestro?
Oko: Jaliba considers his album as his professional passport to the West because this is the album that was not recorded for the Gambian consumer. 
The consumer market is an industrial sound that is fabricated in an industrial framework. Since Jaliba is a Gambian and lives here, the most advance things he does are done in Senegal, which also lacks bigger technological and market device ideas about the outside world. [Youssou Ndour's studio offers state-of-the art recording facilities, used by international/Western artist as well. Senegal boasts many highly trained music professionals using sophisticated media to succesfully launch artists' careers.]
They know about Senegal and the Gambia, but they don't know that Senegal lack the knowledge of how to make a record to sell in Indonesia for instance [compared to the huge success of Indonesian music in Senegal]. When I collaborated with Jaliba, Abdel Kabirr, and Pap Touray, I made the music as something made in the Gambia, by Gambians but manufactured in Hollywood and launched in Hollywood.
Really that introduction helped Jaliba and many people can now see him and listen to him online via the internet and the new media.

Bt; How is your life as a producer in the Hollywood?
Oko: Hollywood is like a university for graduation at the highest level. In Hollywood there are levels which are the highest in every aspect in show-business, theater, acting and musical performance. From morning-time to night-time you are interacting with the highest people in the business of music - the top artists of the world.
So is like when you live in a university campus. Here in the Hollywood you are living in the campus city with only stars that people love to buy their videos music and movies. I had been lucky to meet the Terminator and Elizabeth Taylor who was a partner to Michael Jackson.
My Life in Hollywood has been nothing but educational experience coming from the Ifang Bondi days institution of Banjul. I see the whole world through the window of where I was born, and I take pride very much to return to the Gambia to share this knowledge I learned from abroad.
The money is not important in my work in the Gambia for me now but what is important for me is to inject my knowledge and quality to young Gambians. If I were only doing it for money I will just stay in China (the new financial capital) or in America.
And as long as I am here teaching and coaching; surely the Gambian music will change and the money will come naturally [of course...] and there will be advancement in the area of music administration, the art and science of Recording, distribution, and media marketing of Gambian music.

Bt: What are your most desired achievements?
Oko: Laughs!! My desired achievements are to see new talents every day in the Gambia because such makes my life full of tastes and color. Whenever I see new talents, I feel alive and whenever I see creative people I feel alight.
What do not inspire me are people who know something but only through the books (ideas of others) or the counterfeit of somebody's idea [a surprising statement for someone who thrives on plagiarizing]. I know many professors, lawyers and doctors, who are graduates but their knowledge is based on something already known or the books of someone else.
For me I like originality and I have been inspired by original thinking people. Whenever I think for people is mostly from my creative brain and to make others earn and learn from it. My entire knowledge is based on fueling people with energy to earn, learn and get something from it.
So my big ambition is for Gambians to collaborate with me so that I can share my knowledge and learn with them so that we can make a mixture of all fine ingredients of talents, skill, beauty, art and color. But this must be exploited now while I am here and alive.
When I went to America in Hollywood and I organized the first Africa Music Festival there, which was held in California,I received a certificate of honor from the senate of California for bringing such a prestigious event in that state. [In reality it was a low-key 1-night event in a small local theatre].
In Texas, I organized with Jaliba Kuyateh a traditional evening of history and culture called the Night of the Griots in Austin. 
I did that presentation and a lecture series in which I was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree of arts by the University of Texas in Austin.

Yep, Oko Drammeh is in reality DOCTOR Oko! His inborn modesty forbids him however to boast about this extraordinary achievement. After H.E. Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh Naasiru Deen, Oko Drammeh is the 2nd Gambian to ever receive a Honorary Doctorate of such high prestige! Check Dr. O's Presentation/Lecture at Night of the griots

Considering the University of Texas at Austin doesn't generally award any honorary degrees except for sitting presidents, vice presidents or first ladies of the United States, it puts Dr. O on a par with  the likes of President Lyndon Johnson and President George H.W. Bush! Obama, eat your heart out.

In Holland, I have had numerous awards from the government [when, which, why?] as well as from the City of Delft where I was appointed as a leader in organizing the cultural events for the city when it celebrated 750 years.  [In reality, after a decade of botching his own festival, abusing public funds, he was shunned by all official/municipal organizations]
I also achieved in music a lot - I happened to achieve a number one hit in America with my Sotokoto Band[Another lie]
I also appeared with Carlos Santana, a major artist on Billboard Magazine , which is the number one music magazine in the world. [Probably had a classified add in a Billboard issue featuring Santana]. But more on my achievements is on 

Bt: Oko now that you are in The Gambia with all these qualities and experiences that you possess, to be more specific what do you intend to further do for your nation in the area of music development?
Oko: (Laughs) I have been doing for my country ever since. That is why I have certain artistic success in the Gambia but in the Gambia I do not have financial success. I intend to stay in the Gambia to organize events and to regulate what comes out of Gambian studios.
I am here to also regulate what goes out in the Gambian media in terms of promoting Gambian music and art. I have to be the barometer in helping balance what has to come out of Gambia in terms of arts and culture.
This is what I want to do for Gambia - I want to become the intellectual view and the artistic strength to give confidence to our composers, our young artists, and to give confidence to our technical studio owners that with my guidance and involvement, I will see where the illness is and I provide the cure
. [Another Doctor of Miracle Cures in the house] 
Since the Gambian music scene is going in uncertain times and the conditions of creativity are not properly tapped, and the raw talents are wasted and some of these artists would become older people tomorrow; I have to do something to ensure that we eventually have a music industry.
I will also want to organize the Africa Music Festival [another virtual festival, just as the 2002 Banjul Blues and Jazz festival] in the Gambia, something that I organize in Holland and sponsored by the Dutch government. I will try to solicit with the Gambia government if we can do this festival in the Gambia so that we can have other starts from Africa to come here and mingle with our artists.
That music festival is Pan-African and the Gambia is a Pan-African state and we share the same Pan-African dreams with the former leaders and future ones. 
So having that one concept idea in the Gambia whereby Gambian artists would interact with other Pan-African artists with a view to have a platform for Africa in the continent instead of the other way round is critical.
[Another one of Dr. O's brilliant albeit unfathomable concepts]
I am also working on education and I am in contact with some schools in America, Texas who are open to interact with Gambian youths. So we want to initiate an educational trade fair in both the Gambia and the USA. The other key plan is enlightenment and I want Gambian youths to be enlightened and reject idle pleasure and turn to the part of righteousness. [Dr.O: the African Bill Graham rock promoter as well as the African Billy Graham Evangelist]
I want Gambian youths to start mingling with professionals and experienced people to enhance capacities. I want Gambian artists to also be firm in their faith and not to be corrupted by superstition and be the children of the light so that they can be projected.
I also want them to start making songs about solid facts of human story [???]. If you have all these things, nobody can blow you out of the scenes

Bt: Sure, this is possible with the commitment of all. But what is the current state of Gambian music?
Oko: At the moment the Gambian music is unripe or what we called amateur. The country had experience a mature music before but suddenly there was a collapse and still we didn't get up from that.
The state of Gambian music is amateur because we do not have the components as before - record shops, instrument shops, and rehearsal halls. So the state of it is that the talents and the performing standards and the materials we produce are all amateur because the musicians cannot do anything about it - they only have talents and are not rich people and cannot transform their interest in music into success.
It cannot be copied music but it has to be original. We have it here many young Gambians singing great songs but they do choose the wrong music because they lack the knowledgeable experience and that is why in my conversations I always recommends that I wish there was Gambia College in every spheres such as music, sport, and so on.
In every aspect of our society, there should be something where Gambians can propel to adulthood. What happen is that normally when we starts young we are so good, but as we grow older we start to get bad because we do everything by ourselves - pay from our pockets to record to compete with industries that have schools.
So we have a list of things that we have to do and I will share this with the stakeholders.

Bt: Giving this analytical view or picture of the Gambian music scene, it appears the music that is produced in the country is not marketable internationally?
Oko: The Gambian culture is marketable and some sort of Gambian music which we still have to discover is marketable [ brilliant economical prognosis]. Because 30 years of Cultural Revolution has been destroyed by fashion [very profound sociohistorical analysis].
The Gambia is very advanced politically and culturally but we have compromised this through allowing what we called grafting of our media channels. When I say grafting that means  you have an Indian man doing the Observer editing; a DJ of a radio station a Chinese; and all your important cultural fabric of your society is handled by foreigners. So you see that we have half of our culture abandoned and the opportunities also abandoned alongside with it. [Enters Soto Koto Band: an African band formed by American artists, delivering a Jazz, Rock, hip hop and industry sound] 
But Gambians should be enlightened and awaken to their culture and know that the Gambian radio stations, Gambian newspapers cannot be half and half. We cannot graft our culture. So we must seize the opportunity to project our culture from the pulse of our blood to the beat of our hearts to the world.

Bt: Oko, still on the development of Gambian music, what do you think about the content of Gambian music which includes the song, the writing, musical arraignment and stage performances?
Oko: This is the key issue of a music industry. When you have a copy right office , content is the reason why we establish copyright office.[Implementation of a costly Gambian copyright office to administer the "content" of half a dozen amateur rappers is preposterous, considering also the Senegalese BSDA successfully caters to all composers of the subregion] This is because the content is the story that defines the capacity of your culture; content is the imagination of a flow from your brain when you cannot see beyond the river but know that something is behind it.
If today you invite Gambian artists to China or Japan to present what is Gambian, obviously they will play reggae or hip hop. This is because our media and music stations do everything half-Gambian and half-foreign. It is very important to sound authentic meaningful to be original.
Many people talked to me that Oko "you have to start a band or more bands and coaching them so that they can become in the right frame mind like you." [Heaven forbid] [..]
I was a member of the Ifang Bondi when I was in my teens and when the Band went to Europe playing Western music, they were chased because Europeans were telling them go back and bring us what comes from your back yard [what is Gambian]. [Complete rubbish, he never was a (child-)member of the band, merely a worker / he's mixing up Super Eagles and Ifang Bondi / this is a huge insult to the musicians who, instead of being chased away, were very successful in the UK and highly acclaimed for their music] 
This is why when you talk about the Gambian music, the content of song writing and composition, you don't have to go beyond the stories your mother told you; you don't have to go beyond the woman going to the market telling her ups and downs with the lives on the streets.
This is how you make a song - a song writer is like a journalist - they invent articles and stories of humanity. This is what you put in the song. Stories of humanity and stories of human interest and experience or concern such as warning the community of danger, encouraging the youths of the good opportunities, is how you make a song. [Dr.O clearly has no clue what it takes to write a song, comparing the creation of a work of art to scribbling content for a local rag]
But you don't make a song using the mouth that you use to praise Allah the Almighty and use it for abuse. You cannot make songs that dictate your hands to rise to use weapons.

Bt: Mr Oko Drammeh it has been a lengthy interview but before I take leave of you, what is your final word to the general public, the artist and stakeholders in the development of Gambian music in general?
Oko: I am confident that if all the right things I have said in this interview are put in place, success is guaranteed and money will flow naturally in the hands of Gambian artists, thus becoming rich and famous just like other artists.
This is because in other countries the works of artists are bought by television stations, radio stations, theater houses, even before the song comes out. Only the text of the song and the musical notes, are circulated to all these institutions and they already pay advance for this and the artist will become a millionaire way before the song is released. [Utter rubbish, begging the question also what happened to the millions from the Sotokoto releases, from which the artists involved never benefited]
These things cannot come naturally - here we are in the final steps in our interview but all the things I have said have to be considered and get done before the Gambian musical content can be bought by the agencies for the services of their industries and institutions. This is how music money is made. [This colossal misconception explains why Dr.O got bankrupt and forced to make a living from sources outside the music industry, e.g. selling electronics through the internet] 
We have many people interested in music here in the Gambia but the study of the fundamental principle of music education is missing in our country. The interest in music is very high among the youths but that leads to frustration if they have no outlet and it may have negative effect and may results to objecting, opposing and rejecting because many young musicians haven't connect as yet with the real world of fame and success [read: Dr.O's world] and it affects their vision and they eventually turned from discipline to indiscipline, obedience to disobedience. But all these tensions can be diffused when the institutions are put in place.

Bt: That's the end of this marathon interview and thank you for your time to share your experience with the people.
Oko: Thank you too, it has been my pleasure.


By Ousman Darboe      Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oko Drammeh, a reknown Gambian music promoter was born and brought up in the city of Banjul.
He  first started as a political activitist, then became a sportsman, musician and finally became a promoter.  He has travelled far and wide in Europe, Africa and America and has vast experience in music.  In this encounter with the Daily Observer's  Ousman Darboe, Oko speaks about the 1981 coup, African culture, President Jammeh's administration and his ambition to become the Mayor of Banjul in the future.  Below is the excerpt of the encounter.

You are not new to Gambians as a musician [???], sportsman [???] and politician [???]. Can you share your experiences with us in the political arena in The Gambia?
Well, I would like to talk on youth politics in the country and the advancement of politics and political education in The Gambia.  I came from a political family.  My mother was at the secretariat of the then Gambia Muslim Congress, which was a Muslim party, and the United Party which was a Catholic party [she was definitely NOT at the secretariat of the UP, neither was it catholic party], as well as The Gambia Alliance Party, which was an Anglican Party.  So, you could see that each of the religions had a political party. [Nonsense]
I came from the Muslim party [youngest member ever], and I observed a lot of political development by studying all the different political groups in The Gambia. I came out of this political heap or what you call a political cloud, which gives me a clear dimension of Gambian youth in African politics.

My involvement in politics, of course, came  in the pre-independence era, when The Gambia was in search of independence.[Oko being about 10 years old then] During this period, the whole of Africa had one voice. I was lucky to be part of this movement, wherein a lot of newspapers, magazines and other political journals throughout Africa came to The Gambia.  Although Ghana had independence, The Gambia was very close to Ghana in terms of political unification and development.  This is how my mum, together with Kwame Nkrumah,  IM Garba Jahumpa selected many youths here and sent them to Ghana for education and other training so that the whole of Africa becomes one with the perception of free independence. We were all hoping that after independence, Africa would be one continent and country.  This is my political drive. [Dr.O has also put out an extensive biography of his mother ya kompin Ya Arret Mboge, featured as a major African political influence, of the same stature as Nkrumah, Touray, Lumumba, Kaunda, who used to frequent her vast HQ at Hill street, the nerve centre of the international Pan-African movement, to consult her on the development of the continent.]
As I was born in Banjul, I observed that lots of Gambian youth were icons in the continent. The Gambia was an intellectual country in Africa and many Gambians played major roles in Africa ranging from sports, music, education and politics. I was very fortunate to witness the rise of prominent Gambians in many important situations in Africa.  Most of the youth at that moment devoted their time in symposia, conferences and debates, and these were our regular activities at that time in the British Council and MacCarthy Square.
This is how we were nurtured at that time as political individuals. Apart from knowing about the events, we were also informed about the American civil rights movements. We also had good knowledge of the cold war and Western ideologies because in The Gambia, there were representations of both parties. We had African-American cultural activities, and were represented in Bulgaria and the Soviet Union.  So The Gambia was a very dynamic country, which was the essence of our symposia, debates and political lectures. My interest was in African unity. 

I was involved in the civil rights movement in America [by then being in his early teens], more so than during the cold war.  I joined many organisations, which later established the Movement of Justice in Africa (MoJA), and I took part in many of the pocket meetings and we had radical groups that even sabotaged government utilities. Many of the social groups had their own newspapers and everybody knew what to say or do as we were advocating for the unification and liberation of Africa.

Most  members of MoJA were arrested during the 1981 abortive coup led by Kukoi Samba Sanyang. Why?

During the 1981 coup, MoJA was not very strong but, prominent names like Koro Sallah and others were targeted by the previous regime and demonised, and that was the reason for their arrests. We were not seen as MoJA, but we were seen as outcasts before the advent of MoJA. We were all arrested and detained. Even if you were not a member of MoJA, but you had a beard and mustache you were identified as a political character, hence your arrest. If you were also found with political books in your house, you got arrested. They collected the books, journals and papers and burnt them, just as Hitler did. If you were arrested with political books, which were against Western capitalist ideas, the government prosecuted you. [Complete nonsense]

Were you arrested and prosecuted then? #8232; 
Of course! I was part of the people who were arrested in the 1981 coup and charged with treason. I was kept in various detention cells. And so many people died in those cells, but I survived. I was beaten with machine guns and batons. #8232;Youth in politics is something I would like to emphasise as a youthman. I was a sportsman and a musician, but I was first a political person. Politics guided and directed all my actions. 
I have listened to all the speeches that were made by our president which were also similar to my speeches
I think that we have a lot of similarities in the way forward and we all want to embrace the continent of Africa, which we think is the richest continent in the world. All the museums in the world are full of African arts and culture. If you go to any botanic garden in the world, you will find out that it's full of African plants, flowers and herbs. So, if the West colonised us, we should not allow ourselves to be re-colonised again. Many Africans are now deviating from the family values and cultural norms. Many of us are trying to imitate the West.

Before independence, Africans had a purpose and vision [like what???], but remember one thing: the intellectual approach taken by Africans should be a concern. There is a massive attack on Africans.  The West wants to control us.  We are the machines that make the wheel turn. If Africans were by now self-supportive, self-sufficient and widely connected, we would not need anything from the outside world. The poverty of Africans is artificial.  Africa has something that the world needs, so you will not be surprised that all the chaos and migration in Africa is man-made. 

Did you actually fight in the 1981 coup?
 Yes, I fought as a group and battalion leader [complete rubbish], but fighting means that I was armed with a political conscience.

I mean were you armed?
Yes, I was armed with a machine gun [complete rubbish]. I put my life up and as a political activist, your secret in life is to have no fear. I was not afraid. Of course, it is premature to ask whether I was one of the initiators. One thing I do know is, I will not hesitate to fight for my people because I matured as a politician and I had all the information and every action is important, relevant and useful because the country will claim her own dignity again from the hands of the minority who are not entitled by right to what they seized from the ordinary people who do not have good education.  Not everybody can be a surgeon or scientist but it does not mean that because you are more educated than them, you grab all their land. 

Was your involvement in the coup the reason for your arrest and detention? 
#8232;Yes, of course, that was the reason why I was arrested [finally the truth is out: Dr.O IS THE REAL KUKOI !] but there are often people who lead many factions of this action groups.  My faction was against this tricks. I was a very famous music DJ  [in a club with a capacity of ± 100] and I was good at mobilising people and my house was a centre of book reading or like a learning centre.  We have books like the Gramma [Granma is a newspaper, not a book] from Cuba, books from various part of the world, the dark people of Ethopia, among others. We now lack political education in the country and peoples need to be nurtured and empowered politically. And after 1981, the then government did not allow vous and if they found you in groups, they thought you were planning to do something.

As a politician, what is your assessment of President Jammeh and his government since its inception in 1994?
I like his government because there is massive development  that is taking place. When I was in Jamaica and heard of his takeover, I made lot of cassettes in Kingston, Jamaica and sent them to the whole world about the able leadership of The Gambia.  The Gambia has to change and support Jammeh's call on Gambians to change their attitudes. I have the same ideology as President Jammeh.  I have seen development in the area of construction, education, health and agriculture among many others.
The Gambia cannot develop at all times in one period.  If President Jammeh is given the chance and opportunity, he will take this country to high heights.  The people of this nation should love him as the national leader and give him all the necessary support he needs.  We need to give him more fuel, there should not be any interruption of the way he is handling things.  A minority should not distract him from the job he is doing for their own interest.  Many people have not got the technical know-how to multiply and teach people about his ideologies.  He is doing it by himself.

 By this time, they should have come out with his books, his ideologies and in schools, there should be his green books [we all know what happens to authors of green books]. By now, the doctrine of President Jammeh should be in the minds of all soldiers and they should be busy educating people about the ideas of Jammeh even at the school level and in the community. I would like him to focus more on the unification of Africa. It is nonsense for some people to say that the unification of Africa will be corrupted by greed. [Amen]
Author: By Ousman Darboe

The world is divided into people who do things, and people who get the credit. Try to belong to the first class - there's far less competition (D. Morrow)

Edited by - tiramakhan on 02 Aug 2012 12:45:54


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Posted - 31 Jul 2012 :  12:28:43  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message
OK Ousman Darboe,very well researched antecedents of Dr.O well presented here by tiramakhan ,these events can be on occasion a financial scam,I cannot see anywhere in the long article above where there has been any complaint by anybody about payment of money to attend these events that apparently never took place,IF money is involved it is a reasonable assumption to make that the amount is considerable,if so where is it ?
Is Dr. O under investigation by any law enforcement authority anywhere ?
Is it a criminal offence to cancel an event if there are perhaps insufficient people attending to make it viable?

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 31 Jul 2012 12:31:39
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Posted - 31 Jul 2012 :  13:35:03  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message
These are some revealing allegations.

Time will tell whether the postponed Gambia International Kora Festival 2012 will be held in November 1-4th 2012.

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Posted - 31 Jul 2012 :  13:45:17  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message
DR O has two choices now,have the festival as advertised OR do not have the festival,if no festival,the published researched history of Dr O will paint a sincere picture

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 31 Jul 2012 13:45:52
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Posted - 12 Aug 2012 :  20:21:08  Show Profile  Visit Janko's Homepage Send Janko a Private Message
A very interesting summary.
Clearly there is a deference between an artist and a con-artist.

I know some few Gambian musicians from the era of the one and only Ifang Bondi, listening to them says a lot about some rotten potatoes that call or present themselves as mangers or and promoters. The state of music and musicians in the Gambia has a lot to do with the incompetence of so call managers who have nor entrepreneurial skills or talent.

This reminds me of another defining moment in Gambian pop-music history. When Albert(sax-player of Ifang) was coaxed into following the Gellewar Band to Ivory coast by one such ill-wiling manager. We all know what happened to the Ifang when Albert left. I hope that story will also come to light, one fine day. How the band was maltreated by the very manager that took them to Ivory Coast, how the band ended and what happened to some of its members and what effect that single act by some so call manager have had on both Gambian music and musicians.

Thanks Ousman Darboe and tiramakhan for shareing

Clean your house before pointing a finger ... Never be moved by delirious Well-wishers in their ecstasy
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Posted - 16 Oct 2012 :  20:29:14  Show Profile  Visit Santanfara's Homepage Send Santanfara a Private Message
Am speechless. Quiet revealing. well well, am still listening to the day the event will take place. Amean, Pa Njie successfully sponsored a Kora festival and yet it seems all that was discounted. In any case, Oko should clarify and set the records straight.

Surah- Ar-Rum 30-22
"And among His signs is the creation of heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours. verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge." Qu'ran
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Posted - 01 Nov 2012 :  10:37:37  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message
Originally posted by Momodou

These are some revealing allegations.

Time will tell whether the postponed Gambia International Kora Festival 2012 will be held in November 1-4th 2012.

Today is November 1st and there is no sign of the much talked about "International Kora Festival 2012". Any update on the event?

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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Posted - 01 Nov 2012 :  19:53:19  Show Profile Send Karamba a Private Message

Much like mouth full of stuff on the skin of Dr O. May be he has story to tell.

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Posted - 02 Nov 2012 :  10:06:59  Show Profile Send kobo a Private Message


Edited by - kobo on 02 Nov 2012 11:45:56
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Posted - 03 Nov 2012 :  11:55:12  Show Profile Send tiramakhan a Private Message

It looks like the self-proclaimed founder of the International Kora Festival and Awards, has put a halt to his core business of non-events in favour of training a next generation of Dr. Os, to be recruited "from the vast amount of raw talents in the country with no background in music knowledge."

Dr. O has secured himself a post as lecturer at the Manding Morri Academy for Music, where he will be teaching music business and administration, presenting a programme "The surname of music is business"
Dr. O pledges that "at the end of the programme The Gambia will exchange catalogues with England, Nigeria and the likes to serve as a source of revenue for the county and curb youth unemployment."
(source: - 4th post)

Essential curriculum topics:
-"How to successfully bungle festival promotion - The International Kora Festival, a case study"
-"Bankruptcy, the secret of making nothing out of something" - from The African Music Festival Tutorial
-"Copyright & Copywrong - Appropriating copyright of works created by someone else in 3 easy steps"
-"Master of your Domain" - About the periodical cleansing of embarrassing content

Recommended reading:
- Personal Myth building for Dummies - The infallible Dr. Cuckoo formula of CtrlC+CtrlV
- The African Music Festival Tutorial
- Green Book - various shades and editions

As to the wondrous SOTO KOTO WORLD:
The pictures of the "Oko Drammeh Foundation for Children" actually show "The Buddies", a Dutch boys' choir of which Dr. O's son Matarr was a member, led by a notorious pedophile, and brought to The Gambia by Dr. O some years ago.
In view of this, rebranded as the "Oko Drammeh Foundation for Children" for the purpose of "creating opportunities for children to realize their full potential" the event gets a rather disturbing ring to it.

Dr. O proudly testifies of his attendance at the Buddhist SGI-USA TX/OK Zone "Youth Cultural Festival 2010 Rock the era Youth Festival".

With respect to Dr. O's religious broadmindedness, one would rather expect evidence of the hundreds of African festivals which Dr. O claims to have organized during the past 30 years - dates, places (90 countries/5 continents), venues, artists, reviews, YouTube content…
Same applies to certificates of his numerous awards, not least his Honorary Doctorate, and pictures of Dr. O together with megastars, the likes of Michael Jackson and Liz Taylor, and the heads of state, other than President Jammeh, he routinely rubs shoulders with.
And what about some tangible expressions of gratitude of Africa's superstars, 90% of whom owe their success to Dr. O.

Even more astonishing is the conspicuous lack of biographies/pictures/line-up/technical fiches/tour dates/availability of the artists Dr. O is representing/managing.
Oddest thing of all, there never is - never has been for that matter - any mention whatsoever of upcoming events, including the International Kora Festival.
Isn't this Dr. O is supposed to make a living from?

The Gambia, cradle of the kora tradition, deserves a high-profile International Kora Festival.
The question is whether The Gambia can provide the professional know-how and logistics to stage an event of such stature.

However, most kora maestros are veteran international travellers and will be able to evoke the magnificence of West Africa's classical music anywhere in the world.
In the hands of an established and competent global festival organization an International Kora Festival can't fail to be success story.

The world is divided into people who do things, and people who get the credit. Try to belong to the first class - there's far less competition (D. Morrow)

Edited by - tiramakhan on 03 Nov 2012 15:08:22
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Posted - 03 Nov 2012 :  15:42:44  Show Profile Send Karamba a Private Message
Uuuuhhmmm ! Am I learning alone ? tiramakhan, ining baara.

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Posted - 03 Nov 2012 :  15:59:23  Show Profile Send kobo a Private Message

Edited by - kobo on 03 Nov 2012 16:45:30
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Posted - 03 Nov 2012 :  21:13:43  Show Profile  Visit Janko's Homepage Send Janko a Private Message
You mean
"-"Bankruptcy, the secret of making nothing out of something" - from The African Music Festival Tutorial...."

Clean your house before pointing a finger ... Never be moved by delirious Well-wishers in their ecstasy
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Posted - 15 Jun 2013 :  01:58:54  Show Profile Send tiramakhan a Private Message

Living Legend Revisited

After their earlier high-profile interviews with Dr.O the Daily Observer is revisiting Gambia's all-time Living Legend.
The article briefly refers to Dr.O's involvement with the Manding music tradition, culminating in his televised lecture as part of the Night of the Griots in Austin, Texas.
Dr.O's merits as a ethnomusicologist have always been underexposed. Below a small selection of his academic concepts, culled from his publications on kora music and its performers.

From: Kora fiesta at a glance
Kicking it off with Dr.O illuminating the essence of kora music.
"Jelis therefore are the field of music most closely associated with the ruling field of music most closely associated with the ruling Mandika elite and always played in the open courtyard where everyone will dance and enjoy to the fullest. There is no special dancing step for kora because it is a lively and circular music meant to inspire listeners to take moral and constructive actions as far as entertainment is concerned.
Kora music as gone wide and far beyond Africa, it has become yawning music of the west especially among the Dutch, Scandinavia even some parts in States have crave for it

"(..) circular music meant to inspire listeners take moral and constructive actions as far as entertainment is concerned":
Circular music is widely accepted as having a morally uplifting impact on audiences, ensuring these elitist Mandinka dance parties remain respectable events.

"Kora music (..) has become yawning music of the west (..) even some parts in States have crave for it"
Dr.O refers to the soporific, even addictive nature of kora music for which it is particularly appreciated among Western audiences.

From: The Magnificent Lalo Kebba Drammeh
"He [Lalo Kebba Drammeh] was a master of the Kora instrument who tune his kora only one time and never tune his kora between songs as done by mostly all Jalis when the switch from one song to another. With Lalo Kebba he would only tune once and that will serve any of the varied Kora tuning for making codified music scale rules of the many kora scales that form the many songs of Kora.
Before he play his kora, he would (..) re-tune the Kora tightly well with a special technique in a tune pattern that will allow him to play fluently all kora tunes according to the four Kora scale patterns.
Dr.O's rather incoherent tale of the tuning wizardry of Lalo Kebba Drammeh is a fable: the kora can be tuned only in one specific scale at a time. Hence kora players can be seen with several differently tuned instruments on stage to be able to switch to another scale during the performance.

"There are four Kora scale pattern (..). They are the Silaba, the Swauta, Hadirin and the Tomoroba."
Dr.O introduces a spelling of his own. The rest of us rather stick to Silaba=Tomora Ba (major scale), Sauta instead of Swauta (major scale), Hardino instead of Hadirin, with Tomora Mesengo (minor scale) as the 4th scale.
In principle the kora can be tuned to any scale, reflecting universal heptatonic scales such as the phrygian, dorian, aeolian, lydian, mixolydian etc.

"All these four kora scales are in cooperated in Gambian Kora music, unlike the kora sound of Mali, Guniea, Guinea Bissau and Senegal. In these countries they only play one scale."
Senegal and Guinea Bissau share the same Tiliji (western) and Kabunke kora traditions with The Gambia. Soundioulou Cissokho, the most celebrated kora maestro of all, hails from Casamance - together with Guinea Bissau the cradle of many illustrious kora dynasties.
The Tilibo (eastern) kora tradition of Mali and Guinée Conakry features different scales, derived from ngoni and balafon scales.
Dr.O's statement that in these countries only one scale is played is likely to be dismissed as preposterous, if not an insult to jaliya, by kora pundits.

"He [Wandifeng Jobarteh] was the composer of many epic kora songs including (..) Tare Jatta."
Comment: Tare Jatta: formerly known as Nteri Jato - another example of Dr.O's radical new spelling.

From: The Genius of Jaliba Kuyateh
"He has a long, sharp winding voice that calls spirit from the deep forest. Jaliba can sing in seven octaves."
A trained vocalist reaches 3 octaves, exceptionally 4 octaves, the Guinness record is 6 octaves! (Check Li Wenxing
By comparison: a piano covers 7 octaves from the lowest to the highest key.
Jaliba Kuyateh hovers safely within 1,5 octaves instead of an extraterrestrial 7 octaves.
Super Eagles singer Edu Hafner is credited by Dr.O with an - even more alarming - high pitched 7 octaves vocal range, way beyond the human hearing, audible only to dogs.
Dr.O is clearly gifted with a capacity of hearing things no one else can.

From: The incredible Lamin Saho: A Kora Genius
"His [Lamin Saho's] exceptional understanding of vocal technique enables him to explore all the nuances from the long graceful slides of “Tomoro” (kora scale) to the quick multi-tempo vibrato ornaments of Yeyengo." 
Here Dr.O completely muddles up things.
Understanding of vocal technique enables (..): singing - however proficient - has nothing to do with playing an instrument, especially not a plucked instrument such as the kora.
Long graceful slides: Dr.O is mixing up plucked instruments (e.g. guitar, xalam, kora) with bowed instruments (e.g. violin, nyenyero, sarangi). Only the latter allow sliding effects (glissandos).
Tomora (not Tomoro): is not a technique - glissando or otherwise - but a music scale, actually two different scales: tomora ba (major) or tomora meseng (minor).
Yeyengo is a popular dance rhythm from the Casamance, played on silaba/tomora ba, without fixed tempi.
However, on a kora it is completely impossible to render a vibrato, a pitch bending effect restricted to human voice, bowed string instruments, wind instruments, some electric guitars and synthesizers.

I’ve heard him play three measures of four in the melody strings, while simultaneously playing four measures of three in the strings. And because he was playing both parts with a triplet on each beat of the “Barawula” cycle, it all fit perfectly over one measure of slow Syllaba. No one else can do that on a melody instrument,” said [Ifang Bondi's percussion player Karamo] Sabally."
With his 4/3 time signature Lamin Saho truly deserves the sobriquet "genius", causing a major revolution in music by his creation of a completely new notation, turning the centuries old time signature system upside down.

As to rhythmically playing a sequence of notes to perfectly fit within a scale: this is about the most basic of all musical skills!
The statement No one else can do that on a melody instrument would imply an almost complete absence - bar the occasional singing saw and bullroarer - of any kind of instrumental music known in the world. Dr.Mo matches Dr.O in musical knowledge.

From: Jali Mamadou Suso - Gambia’s truly exotic and melodic kora maestro
"One of the most famous sitar players are Lalo Kebba Drammeh and Sounjulu Cissoko."
Another proof of Dr.O's ethnomusical genius: he is the first one to discover that the kora and the Indian sitar - both featuring gourd resonators, hardwood necks and the same number of strings - are actually one and the same instrument!
Dr.O forgets to mention that Ravi Shankar composed the sitar classic Masane Cisse.
From: Innovative genuis Alhaji Sait Camara - xalam griot and historian of the Great Lake region of Senegambia
A musicologist rather than a geologist, Dr.O can be forgiven for not noticing the Senegambian Great Lakes' total evaporation of late.
Otherwise this essay is a profound analysis of the arcane history of the ancient Great Lake culture.

The high CtrlC+V density of Dr.O's ethnomusicological essays tends to obscure the essence of his thinking. His oeuvre still awaits a dedicated exegesis to expose the full scope of his view on West African music.
In the mean time Dr.O's colleague professor Eric Charry gladly makes up for the lack with his acclaimed work "Mande Music" Essential reading!
By his own standards however Living Legend Dr.O - doctor honoris causa of the University of Austin, Texas - definitely does his Alma Mater proud.

Back to Where He Belongs

Whereas this year's Roots Festival - another festival in which Dr. O claimed to have a stake - slated for 30 May-7 June has folded without notice, Dr.O himself makes his comeback as a high profile event organizer with the CSSASA gala diner.

"Hundreds of people and music enthusiasts from all walks of life were on Friday treated to a scintillating concert by renowned Senegalese mbalax sensation, Titi, at a gala dinner held at the Penchami Hall at the Paradise Suites Hotel.
The supporting artistes at the show included Gambia’s veteran and globally celebrated kora maestro, Jaliba Kuyateh [of 7 octaves fame]; afromanding star Jalex, Pa Omar Jack, Samba Bah, and Bala Ranks, among others.
Organised by the Combined Security Services and Agencies Sports Association (CSSASA), under the Joint Operation Centre (JOC), an offshoot of the National Security Council under the chair of VP Njie-Saidy, the event, the first ever organised by the Association, was staged under the distinguished chief patronage of His Excellency the president of the Republic, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh."
"Cpt Lamin Sanyang, the public relations officer (PRO) of GAF (Gambia Armed Forces), and a renowned Gambia music producer cum promoter, Oko Drammeh co-chaired the event.

A veteran revolutionary militant in his own right it seems befitting for Dr.O to co-chair this event.

The world is divided into people who do things, and people who get the credit. Try to belong to the first class - there's far less competition (D. Morrow)

Edited by - tiramakhan on 16 Jun 2013 19:18:44
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Posted - 16 Jun 2013 :  11:42:29  Show Profile  Visit Janko's Homepage Send Janko a Private Message
That The Observer gave this big a space for such mediocre writing, says a lot about the mindset we are dealing with. I find it very hard to understand Dr. O´s writing.

Tiramakhan, thanks again for bringing this to our attention.

Clean your house before pointing a finger ... Never be moved by delirious Well-wishers in their ecstasy
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Posted - 16 Jun 2013 :  14:33:04  Show Profile Send kobo a Private Message
Janko . True that tiramakhan deserves commendation and thanks for such presentations, critical analysis of "DR. O" revealing poor interview from Daily Observer news, substantiating his points/facts/allegations, helping us understand certain issues by exposing false claims, sham and censure public fraud

I found these statements hilarious
  • "You are not new to Gambians as a musician [???], sportsman [???] and politician [???]. Can you share your experiences with us in the political arena in The Gambia?"

  • "A veteran revolutionary militant in his own right..."

  • "Of course! I was part of the people who were arrested in the 1981 coup and charged with treason. I was kept in various detention cells. And so many people died in those cells, but I survived. I was beaten with machine guns and batons..."

  • "Did you actually fight in the 1981 coup?

    Yes, I fought as a group and battalion leader [complete rubbish], but fighting means that I was armed with a political conscience."

  • "I mean were you armed?

    Yes, I was armed with a machine gun [complete rubbish]. I put my life up and as a political activist,..."

  • "Was your involvement in the coup the reason for your arrest and detention?

    Yes, of course, that was the reason why I was arrested [finally the truth is out: Dr.O IS THE REAL KUKOI !] but there are often people who lead many factions of this action groups. My faction was against this tricks...."






Edited by - kobo on 16 Jun 2013 15:07:02
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