Tiken Jah Fakoly
Montreal discovered him in 2000. Closing the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, on the big stage, he conquered the audience. A memorable concert that people still talk about!
Is there any need to introduce the international star that Tiken Jah Fakoly has become? In the last 15 years, this Ivoirian turned Malian has been lighting up stages around the world, conveying a message of hope, expressing outrage against injustice, going hoarse in his calls for human rights – all with an undeniable talent and vehemence.
Born Doumbia Moussa Fakoly in June 1968 at Odienné, in the northwest of Côte d'Ivoire, Fakoly came from a family of blacksmiths. But as a reggae fan, he decided not to follow this predestined path and soon created his own group, Djelys, in 1987. He gradually made himself known, regionally and then nationally, through his concerts. In 1996, he brought out his first album, Mangercratie, which gave him added fame in Côte d’Ivoire and in neighbouring countries. He would have to wait two years to sing in Europe, in Paris, and three years for his album to come out in France.
But Tiken Jah was not deterred by these delays. He continued to challenge his fellow citizens and brought out the album Cours d’histoire in 1999 (a year later in France). In this opus, he rails against discrimination and against abuses by western and African government, reiterating encouragement for African unity and for greater citizen awareness. This second album marked the beginning of his fame outside West Africa, a fame that only grew later on.
In the 2000s, the Tiken phenomenon grew in scope. He performed in Montréal for the first time in 2000 thanks to the Festival Nuits d’Afrique. The following years marked the release of the albums Le Caméléon (2000), Françafrique (2002), Coup de gueule (2004), L’Africain (2007) and African Revolution (2010). The last four of these were golden records, and Françafrique received a Victoire de la musique award in France as best reggae / ragga / world album. Between albums, he toured widely in Africa, Europe, the United States and Canada.
As he denounced injustice and took sides, enemies inevitably appeared. In 2002, when civil war broke out in Côte d’Ivoire, some of the people around him were affected and his home was ransacked. He then decided to go into exile in Mali. Some countries denied him access, for example Senegal between 2007 and 2010. But he continued to raise awareness, coming out against the injustices suffered by Africans, by women and by many citizens where they lived. He fought for cancellation of African countries’ debts and was involved in anti-globalization movements.
Each of his appearances is an event in itself. His stage presence makes him a rare and remarkable artist. Audiences in Montréal and across Canada make no mistake about it: he played to a sold-out crowd in Montréal in 2007, when he was Nuits d’Afrique godfather and on his 2011-2012 Canadian tour. He will be doing us the honour of closing the Festival Nuits d’Afrique on July 22 at a free outdoor concert on the parterre of the Quartier des spectacles.
Tiken Jah Fakoly
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Concerts of the artist:
Festival International Nuits d'Afrique -Compilation 2012