Lagos. — The "Oliver Twist" hitmaker will be the second artist from Nigeria after P Square who performed at the festival last year.
D'Bnaj will share the stage with Zimbabwean acts among them the reggae/dancehall star Winky D, King Shaddy and Guspy Warrior.
Uganda's best Bebe Cool will be representing East Africa in a concert that has been dubbed "Battle of Africa."
B'Banj was born in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria to a military officer who commanded an artillery regiment and a church dignitary mother who hailed from Shagamu in Ogun State. Due to his father's profession he moved several times within Nigeria and later moved to England.
D'Banj was expected to follow his father's military career and was enrolled to the Nigerian Military School at age eleven. However, he resisted the system and dis-enrolled from the school after three years. While at the Military school he was a member of the elite drum corp of the Nigerian Army. From the Nigerian Military School he proceeded to another military owned institution Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ibara, Abeokuta where he completed his secondary school education.
D'banj was introduced to the harmonica by his late older brother, Femi Oyebanjo, who died in a plane crash at age seventeen. With his love for music being greater than his parents' military aspirations, he struggled for his parents' approval; this can be best heard through an album track, All Da Way from his debut album.
As a tribute to his mentor Fela, D'banj brings Afro-beat to life and into the 21st century with breathless enthusiasm as well as a good dose of humour. His songs are based on his life, often hilarious but with a deeper meaning which documents the struggle of a young Nigerian trying to achieve his dreams. He performs in Yoruba, English and Pidgin English.
D'banj's debut album, "No Long Thing", was released in 2005, yielding several singles, with Tongolo as the lead single. This proved to be his breakthrough single and a hit. It also provided his "Koko Master" persona, with the term, koko, taking on a variety of meanings.
D'banj's debut success led to collaborations with other artists, this includes Dare Art-Alade's album track, "Escalade Part 2" and Ikechukwu's album. D'Banj's single koko was used by the PDP (ruling political party in Nigeria) as its campaign theme for the 2007 general elections.
D'banj's sophomore album "Rundown Funk U Up" which was released in 2006, yielded several singles including the club single, Tongolo (Remix) and the lead single, "Why Me?" This proved to be another hit. MTV Base.
D'banj is a founder of Koko Foundation for Youth and Peace Development. He is also Nigeria's first United Nations Youth Ambassador for Peace. -- MTV Base/Wikipedia/The Herald Entertainment.