“D’BANJ” (KOKO MASTER) is a Nigerian singer and song writer as well as harmonica guru.
He performs in Yoruba, English and Pidgin English and has performed his songs as a guest at various JJC & 419 Squad shows including WOMAD River mead. The Oliver Twist Songfacts reports that D’banjo is a superstar in his home continent, winning many music awards including Best African Act at the 2007 MTV Europe Music Awards 2007, Artist of the Year at both the 2008 and 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards and Best International Act; Africa at the 2011 BET Awards. In June 2011, D’banj signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music.
His first album titled NO LONG THING which was produced by Don Jazzy includes hits like: TONGOLO, MOBO LOWO WON, ALL THE WAY, SOCOR & AIRBORNE, an infectious Afrobeat tune with a juju edge.
D’Banj was born as Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo in the Northern city of Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria to an artillery officer and a church dignitary who hailed from Shagamu in Ogun State. “D’Banj” is a combination of his first name Dapo and his surname Oyebanjo. Due to his father’s job, D’Banj moved several times within Nigeria as well as abroad to India. He was sent to the Nigerian Military School at 11 and was expected to enter the military like his father, but at 14 D’Banj was introduced to the harmonica by his late brother who tragically died in a plane crash at age 17.
His brother’s harmonica was one of his possessions recovered after the incidence and D’BANJ started to cherish it. His incredible harmonica skills are self taught; he says, “I play the harmonica like it was built for me”.
He has recorded songs with established artistes like Ruggedman, SID, JJC & 419 Squad among others. He has also performed along side many international artiste in Nigeria like Jay-Z, Beyonce, Missy Elliot, Ja Rule, Bennie Manand
D’Banj grew up listening to Fela’s music, “his mentor” and he has performed at Femi Kuti’s new AFRIKAN SHRINE in Lagos as well as the Shrine Synchro System’s regular London Night at Cargo. He also performed at the Black President Concert in memory of Fela’s art and legacy at the Barbican in London.
Avoiding becoming an imitator of his hero, D’Banj brings Afrobeat to into the 21st century.
His songs are based on true incidents in his life, documenting the struggles of a young African trying to achieve his dreams (in his case a successful artist/musician).
D’Banj’s “All The Way” is about the struggles he has faced with his parents over his chosen career.