LAMINE SONKO is a composer, artistic director and multi-instrumentalist born in Dakar, Senegal and based in Melbourne.  His musical talents were founded early in his life having been born into the Griot (cultural historian/artist ) heritage where he learnt from elders how to master the skill of understanding the construct of music from a traditional perspective. Sonko’s work is a unique synthesis of the contemporary and traditional, steeped in varied cultural musical legacies that have informed his approach as an artist.

Sonko spent his youth training in music and dance with the traditional ensemble Ballet Fambondy, moving into musical theatre and  joining the Swiss-based Compagnie des Cries in 2002. At age 19 Sonko moved to Melbourne, completing studies at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2007 and subsequently establishing himself as one of Australia’s leading songwriters and performers of afro-jazz/afro-beat including fronting The African Intelligence, 17 piece band The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra and performing throughout Australia at leading music festivals. Simultaneously he has composed and recorded 11 albums with a number of different projects that have spanned the genres of classical, electronic, hip hop, folk and choral . He has cemented his role as a highly talented and innovative composer, arranging and recording a vast body of award-winning music including two compositions for Grammy Award-winning album ‘Winds of Samsara’ (2015).  He also wrote, produced and independently released ‘Afro Empire’, winning The Age Music Victoria 2018 award for Best Global Album. Since 2015 Sonko has expanded his practice to the role of artistic director. He has composed, arranged and directed large scale works including the Boite Millenium Chorus ‘One Africa’ (Arts Centre Melbourne) and recently his innovative, genre-bending new work 13:12 (Melbourne Recital Centre).

Sonko is a leader in arts education, founding The Knowing Project in 2012 and has travelled throughout Australia, visiting over 1000 schools to deliver programs and workshops that leverage music and culture to teach social emotional wellbeing. He has been a guest teacher in the department of Ethnomusicology at Australian National University and collaborated with Melbourne University on West African Music and Dance course design and delivery. In his artistic practice, he has broken new ground by transcending the lines between the ancient and modern. Throughout his career he has drawn on these ancient concepts and presented it to audiences in a current and tangible musical form that talks to people about the present human condition and the social function of the arts to foster connection and new community consciousness.



2018- The Age Music Victoria Awards >> Best Global Act for 'Cool Out Sun' (Nominated)

2017- The Age Music Victoria Awards >> Best Global Album for 'Afro Empire' (Winner)

2015- The 58th Grammy Awards >> Best New Age Album for 'Love Language,' (Nominated)

2014- The 57th Grammy Awards >> Best New Age Album for 'Winds of Samsara' (Winner)

2012- Victorian African Community Awards >> Artist of the Year (Winner)

2010- ARIA Awards >> Best Global Album for 'Do Anything, Go Anywhere' (Nominated)


2019 Cumbia Cosmonauts and The Radio Africa Band >> Cumbia Cosmonauts

2018 Naming and Blaming >> The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

2018 Cool Out Sun >> Cool Out Sun

2017 Afro Empire >> Lamine Sonko & The African Intelligence

2015 Love Language>> Wouter Kellerman

2014 Winds of Samsara >> Wouter Kellerman

2011 Afro Mandinko >> Afro Mandinko

2010 Do Anything, Go Anywhere >> The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra

2010 Journey of Hope >> One Africa

2008 Desert Red >> Simmer

2007 Mandaela >> Asiko


Melbourne Recital Centre

Arts Centre Melbourne

WOMADelaide >> Adelaide

St Kilda Festival >> Melbourne

Tanks Arts Centre >> Cairns

Kennedy Centre >> Washington

South by Southwest >> Texas

Cannes Festival >> France

Marcus Garvey Park >> New York

Melbourne Int’l Jazz Festival

Hawthorn Arts Centre >> Melbourne

Metro Theatre >> Sydney

Queenscliff Music Festival >> Queenscliff

Globe to Globe Festival >> Melbourne

Winter Festival >> Adelaide

Fed Square NYE Headline >> Melbourne

White Night >> Melbourne

Port Fairy Folk Festival >> Port Fairy

Wave Rock Festival >> WA

Carnegie Hall >> New York

Joburg Theatre >> Johannesburg


"It is not only hearing the words and understanding the stories that is crucial, but the vibrations and soul felt in the music are also uplifting" - THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

"Not only is he an extremely talented musician but also an incredible singer and dancer, The audience was lucky enough to witness true African Music, and be exposed to African tradition from musicians that have such a beautifully rich cultural background." - THE AU REVIEW.

A day in the life of a culture keeper - ABC RADIO NATIONAL