About Tiken Jah Fakoly
TIKEN JAH FAKOLY, was born in Odienne, a village in the north-west of Ivory Coast on 23 June 1968. The Fakoly family, members of the Malinke tribe, are descended from the legendary warrior chief Fakoly Koumba Fakoly Daaba and belong to the griot caste. The African griots are storytellers/musicians who guard the oral tradition of their people, their region and the most important families living there, recounting stories and legends through their music. As a young boy, Tiken developed a passionate interest in music, but he did not actually put his passion into practice until after the death of his father. Tiken was not an assiduous pupil at school, preferring to spend his time listening to music and attending local dances rather than studying. In an effort to get his son back on ’the right track’, Tiken’s father sent him to live with a relative in a neighbouring village called Gbeleban. But, far from turning Tiken away from music, this move only encouraged him .. for it was in Gbeleban that Tiken discovered reggae! At the age of 20 Tiken hooked up with a Ghanaian guitarist by the name of Joffrey and soon afterwards the pair went into the studio together to record their first demo tape. However, even at this early stage of his career, Tiken preferred playing live to working in the studio. He went on to form his first group, Djelys, around 1987 and the group and their charismatic lead singer soon built up an excellent reputation on the local music scene. By 1992 Djelys had become such a well-known fixture on the Ivory Coast scene that they were invited to support Solo Jah Gunt, one of the country’s leading reggae stars, in concert. The following year Djelys recruited a new member, enlisting the services of a French guitarist by the name of ’Spank!’. STILL ONE MESSAGE——– Tiken headed back to Kingston, Jamaica, in 2004 to record his new album, “Coup de Gueule,” at the legendary Tuff Gong studios. The Ivorian reggae star enlisted the aid of the crack reggae team that had helped out on his last album, recruiting Tyrone Downie as producer and Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare in the rhythm section. “Coup de gueule,” which hit record stores in September 2004, found Tiken broadening his vision to tackle world problems like globalisation as well as hitting out against Africa-specific issues such as corruption. While keeping a distinctive Afro-Jamaican edge to his sound, Tiken opened his music up to new horizons via collaborations with a number of special guest stars. These included Didier Awadi from the group Positive Black Soul (who guested on “Quitte le pouvoir”), the Amokrane brothers from Zebda (“Ou veux-tu que j’aille”) and Magyd Cherfi who co-wrote the song “Tonton d’America”. Tiken had dreamt of launching his new album with a concert in Ivory Coast, but there were fears for his own safety and that of his fans. The singer, who is currently living in exile in Mali, launched “Coup de Gueule” in Bamako instead, performing a concert at the Modibo Keita Stadium on 2 October. 20,000 fans turned out to hear songs from his new album.
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