FOWOKAN (JAM/UK) was formed in 2009 by internationally acclaimed, Jamaican-born drummer, SAM KELLY – a highly respected musician across different styles of music, including reggae, R&B, soul, jazz and funk.
In the early 70’s, Sam joined his very first band, “Cymande” which is currently enjoying renewed success as they return to the World music scene. Although not well known in the UK in the early 70’s, Cymande successfully toured in the USA to promote 3 albums which were released on the Janus label, a subsidiary of Chess records. Cymande’s music has retained a cult following over the years and, even today, the name is still well known by a new generation of successful garage, hip-hop and rap artists who have sampled several of the original tracks.
It is this connection with Cymande that has shaped and established the style of reggae that is so familiar to FOWOKAN supporters. The performance set list includes some of the Cymande hits, some Bob Marley classics and a range of reggae favourites.
The members of FOWOKAN have performed live at the London Jazz Festival Stratford, The Jazz Café London, the BBC Soul Britannia All Stars Tour and One Love Festival. The band have also supported OSIBISA at Fairfield Halls, Croydon as part of the African Music Festival. FOWOKAN have been successfully touring in Europe over recent years, establishing a loyal and supportive fan base. They are familiar faces on the UK Festival scene and London music venues.
Sam’s self-taught style of drumming has made him a much sought-after, successful musician with a career spanning some forty years. Sam continues to work around the World, stamping his brand on all genres of music, from blues to rock, R&B, funk, soul and reggae. His vast list of credits includes working with Rico Rodriguez, Chaka Khan, Nicky Thomas, Crown Prince Miller, Janet Kay, Victor Romero and Taka Boom, Roger Chapman and the late, great Gary Moore. With a delicate sensitivity to rhythm and a great understanding of dynamics in music, he has earned the respected position of Musical Director for Soul Britannia. Sam has also been honoured in Blues in Britain’s ‘Gallery of Greats’ after winning ‘UK Drummer of the Year’ for five years running.