Tiken Jah Fakoly (1968–) is a reggae singer from Côte d’Ivoire. Tiken Jah was born into a family of griots and christened Doumbia Moussa Fakoly on June 23, 1968 in Odienné, north-western Côte d’Ivoire. He discovered reggae at an early age, assembling his first group, Djelys, in 1987. He became well-known at a regional level, but would soon ascend to national recognition.
Concerned by the social and political evolution of his country, it was not long before Tiken Jah was writing incisive works on the political environment in Côte d’Ivoire. One such work was on the death of Félix Houphouët-Boigny in 1993, which resulted in a surge of popularity amongst the nation’s youth. In 1998, Fakoly made his first international appearance in Paris.
Tiken Jah Fakoly plays music “to wake up the consciences”. His music speaks about many injustices done to the people of his country, and those over Africa. As such, many African listeners feel a deep affinity with his lyrics as Fakoly speaks for oppressed people. This connection has helped make Tiken Jah Fakoly a much-listened artist throughout the world.
Since the rise in political instability and xenophobia in Côte d’Ivoire in recent years, Tiken Jah has been living in exile, particularly in Bamako (capital of the neighboring country of Mali) where his concerts are well-attended. In December 2007, Fakoly was declared persona non grata in Senegal after criticizing President Abdoulaye Wade.