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20 February 2001

Beal & Drammeh Visit Gambia During Independence Week


(L-R) Oko Drammeh, Mayor Samba Faal & Meredith Beal

Banjul, Gambia -- Lasting Value CEO Meredith Clayton Beal and Producer Oko Drammeh were in Gambia, West Africa to release Kora Dance, the new album by the Soto Koto Band featuring Gambian kora master Jaliba Kuyateh. The visit came during the country's independence celebration. In addition to the cassette/CD release, three music videos from the album were aired on Gambian television and became a prominent addition to the week's festivities.

Highlights of the visit included meetings with government officials, businessmen, media representives, educators, students and members of the cultural and religious communities. Beal spoke about the importance of embracing technology and the knowledge transfer that needs to take place in order for Gambia to participate in the digital economy. He also described Lasting Value's education initiatives and how they might be implemented in Africa.

The Honorable Samba Faal, Mayor of Banjul, the nation's capitol, expressed his desire to work with Beal and Drammeh to inaugurate a new event -- The Gambia Blues and Jazz Festival, to be launched in 2002. "We are proud of the work Oko Drammeh has been doing on behalf of The Gambia for all these years," Faal noted. "We greatly appreciate Oko, Mr. Beal and Soto Koto for their preservation and promotion of Gambian music and culture. We are willing to do whatever is necessary to accomodate the Jazz artists from abroad who would like to participate in this festival," the Mayor added.

Beal and Drammeh met with officials from the Gambia Radio & Television Service regarding technical assistance from Lasting Value in digitizing the historic tapes from Radio Gambia's archives. They also met with the Cultural Ministry regarding the Gambian National Ballet and Music Ensemble. The Ministry wishes to establish cultural exchange tours and they also shared ideas about increasing the number of African Americans visiting The Gambia. The Independence celebration included a host of activities including several performances by Soto Koto artist Jaliba Kuyateh.

For more information contact Lasting Value Communications at 512.257.2831