OUSMANE SONKO

Born in South Senegal, West Africa, Ousmane Sonko is a Griot (Traditional Culture Keeper) through his mother's ancestry of Malian Mandinko culture. He has been playing many traditional drums and performing professionally since the age of twelve. As well as an accomplished artist, Ousmane has been an inspirational teacher to numerous students from around the world including Japan, Europe and Australia. Ousmane also travelled to Munich and London to perform as a drummer and dancer in the critically acclaimed Afrika Afrika, a major touring drum, dance and acrobatic performance featuring an international Pan-African cast.



Ousmane is a multi-talented artist who plays djembe, dundun, tama (talking drum), sabar and guitar among other traditional and modern instruments. Since arriving in Australia Ousmane has conducted drumming workshops nationwide and performed regularly in world music festivals including Womadelaide, St. Kilda Festival and Fitzroy/Footscray Emerge Festivals. Ousmane also teaches West African drumming and songs in group, corporate and private functions, and conducts workshops in pre, primary and secondary schools throughout Victoria.
Ousmane is the creative director, lead musician and singer of the Melbourne based band Ousmane Sonko Kairo, fusing contemporary afro-reggae, jazz, salsa and soukous sounds with ancestral Mandiko rhythms and dances. Kairo means Peace in the Mandinko language and presents a new hybrid of Senegalese sounds to Australia. Percussive but melodic, soulful and uplifting, this group shares the heart of mother Africa with Australia through the international language of music. Incorporating Senegalese language dialects Wolof, Jola and Mandinko and also French and English, Kairo delivers an exuberant and dynamic performance, which entices their audiences to dance and celebrate the joyous rhythms of African cultures.