Born in 1954, Koko Dembélé is from Mopti 600 km east of Bamako. Having emerged on the banks of the Niger, the child could only have finesse in inspiration.
Child Bobo rocked in the Dogon, Peulh and Bozo culture, he received several influences which can justify his commitment.
Coming from a griot family, it was at the age of 7 that Koko began to practice percussion alongside his father who was an excellent percussionist. In 1970, when he was only 16, Koko opted for a musical career and joined the Kanaga orchestra of Mopti under the leadership of Sory Bamba and became the solo guitarist from 1976 to 1986.
The star in Grass was distinguished at the time by successful covers of Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear and Igofrey from whom he borrows the Name. From his time at the Kanaga orchestra, the artist gained experience rewarded with several distinctions and prices in West Africa and Europe, especially in France.
From 1990 Koko moved to Abidjan to start a solo career that smiled at him. At the time, the city of the Ebrié lagoon was the essential platform of the African show biz, and it is in this city that he meets his compatriot Boncana Maiga the Maestro who succumbs under the charm of the know-how of the artist.
It is therefore after three years of collaboration with the maestro that the rasta guitarist and percussionist virtuoso released in 1993 his first album called AMAGNI.
This trial has enormous commercial success outside the African continent, especially in Brazil where it sold like hotcakes. In April 1997 Koko was the 4th distinguished guest after Nelson Mandela, Michael Jackson and Paul Simon at the 18th Olodum Festival.
Then he begins a South American and European tour, and to this day Koko does not stop concert tour to festival around the world. In 1998, he released a second album TENDORO, the success was immediate and devastating. In this second opus, Koko makes a committed but wise and conciliating
reggae in which he informs and raises awareness, titles like Yiriba or Rasta man are illustrations. Then a third will follow. The artist talks a lot about (West). album YEREDON put on the market in 2004. In this album, Africa and its culture which it loses for that of Babylon MANDE is the title of Koko's fourth album released in 2007. The album MANDE, produced in Mali and especially consumed in the countries of South America, was a major work in the artist's career.
MANDE seduces the rare souls still indifferent to Koko’s immense talent. In this fourth work, the rasta confronts realities and denounces war in the Ivory Coast, sings peace in northern Mali, raises awareness against immigration, AIDS, and proclaims love in all hearts. The artist's numerous tours in West Africa, Europe and also in Brazil confirm the success of this album.
In 2013, his collaboration with Mansa Live Production will allow him to relaunch a new European tour, including the Mansa Jam festival in 2013, then a tour alongside Black Uhuru, then Flavia Coelho, also in concert with Tiken Jah Fakoly in Bamako in January 2016.
From this same collaboration will be born a new album called TIEBA "Grand homme" released in December 2017 co-produced and distributed worldwide by the big label STARMONDE MUSIC which also ensures the management of the artist's career. This album "TIEBA" which is a synthesis of the musical journey of 40 years of the career of Koko Dembélé recorded in Montpellier, arranged by the artist himself, he synthesizes his various influences and works to reconcile old and new generations for a better Africa.
In particular, he invited the Timbuktu diva Khaira Arby, the multi-instrumentalist producer Manjul, the virtuoso harmonica player (and regular accompanist of Boubacar Traoré) Vincent Bucher and the singer Emma Lamadji (The Afrorockerz, Gospelize It, Eric Bibb ...) and opens up to new horizons. The mixing is provided by Timour Cardenas (Salif Keita, Alpha Blondy, Youssou N'Dour), " Koko sings in several languages, most often in Bambara, French, English, Bobo, Peulh, Dogon, Bozo, Senoufo, Songhaï.
Reggae does not send a message? Admittedly, Koko's message welcomes the moment when a large audience with diverse cultures has access to it. Decorated Medalist of the National Merit of Mali with Effigy Bee by the Head of State Amadou Toumani TOURE in January 2010 and Knight of the National Order of Mali since January 2020 Koko Dembélé is the icon of African reggae root.