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Mr. Koto NGUM,  a Gambian born, hails from the traditional  ethnics of famed griots.


He is the founder and Artistic director of the acclaimed Baatu Askan Wi Theatre, Theatre, Cultural and dance troupe in the Gambia. Thus, Baatu Askan Wi,  literally translated to mean ‘’ Voice of the People / ‘Tribes or Nation’ ’’, was founded or established in October 1990.


He is a master drummer, dance choreographer and dramatist and storyteller in his own right, with performances which span national, regional and international in nature to his credits.


He learnt his drumming and dance skills from the legendary master drummer, Mam Samba NYING.


Thus, Baatu Askan Wi’s dance repertoire, developed, modified and popularized by Koto Ngum, touches on Gambian folklore and on contemporary issues. The group specializes in drama, Arts, Music, dance and Songs depicting the rich cultural heritage of the Gambia.


Baatu Askan Wi has performed or participated at national, regional, sub-regional, and international folklore, cultural festival fora,  events and manifestations, such as:


·        The 1st  World Festival of Negro Arts and Culture  (FESMAN) held in Dakar, Senegal in 1965;

·        The 2nd All World African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) held in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977;

·        The Zone 2 Folklore festival of the Supreme Council for sports in Africa, held in Conakry – Guinea in November 1984;

·        The Sidmouth International Folk Festival held in Devon, England UK in 1989;

·         Junteen Festival of the Carolinas in Charlotte, North Carolina 2001 and 2003;

·        The Ingunnuko Festival in Charlotte in 2001;

·         University of North Carolina at Greenboro, NC; Winston-Salem State University NC;

·        The African American Festival in Detroit, Michigan;

·        The 3rd World Festival of Negro Arts and Culture  (FESMAN) held in Dakar, Senegal in December 2010;

·        Roots Festival of Arts and Culture;

·        Kanilai International Festival of African Arts and Culture;



Koto NGUM teaches the art of drums of the Mandinka, Wollof, Jola, Serer etc. ethnics.  


His core mission is to resuscitate, rekindle, promote develop and strengthen the image of the Gambia traditions and cultural heritage through performing arts, drama, music, dance, storytelling etc.


His tours have taken him and his group to such places like The USA, UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden among others, where he performs and also teaches and lectures since 1978, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003 .



Baatu Askan Wi group specializes in drama, Arts, Music, dance and Songs depicting the rich cultural heritage of the Gambia. It endeavors to engage its audience through participatory performances and educates them  about the history and cultures of the major ethnic groups of the Gambia including the Mandinka, Wollof, Serer, Joola


Baatu Askan Wi members include renouned performers with over 25 years of experience including the renouned songstress/ singer and song writer, Astou Laam Jeng, Koto Ngum, master drummer Babai Gibba, who astounds audiences by playing four different types of drums and instruments simultaneously.


The troupe engages in costume performances, drum and dance workshops, educational/cultural workshops, lectures and outreaches etc.


In addition to using drama, dance, storytelling, arts performances in depicting the rich cultural heritage of the Gambia,  they also transmit and uses such as sensitization and awareness raising campaigns and exercises on issues such as peace, peaceful co-existence, human rights, drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, health and environmental conservation, preservation, consciousness, civic education, juvenile delinquency, crime, gangsterism, violence,



Baatu Askan Wi has received critical acclaim for its skills and expertise in dance, drumming, singing and technical production; and boasts ‘dual and triple purpose’ artists who transform smoothly from one art form to another.


The troupe’s wide and varied repertoire includes vocal performances that range from ancient tunes of the Mandingo Empire to those of contemporary society. The dances are based on folklore depicting the characteristics and lifestyles of the various ethnic groups of the Gambia.


The group’s dramatic performances explore universal, social, cultural and health and environmental issues such as drugs abuse, violence, teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, HIV/AIDS,  corruption etc.  The musical instruments used by Baatu  Askan Wi include the Kora (a 21-stringed harp lute), the Xalam (Kalam) (a 4-stringed small plucked lute), the Balo / Balaphone (African Xylophone), the Tama (Tam Tam) (small talking drum) ubiquitous in West Africa and the Mandinka, Wollof and Joola drums etc.













THE WEST COAST THEATRE AND CULTURAL GROUP commonly called The 'SMILING COAST CULTURAL  PLAYERS' was founded on 27 April, 2005, by Joseph Babadi Johns and Abdul Suffian Conteh, Mustapha Kassim, Michael Gomez, Rugiatu Kamara, ndeye fatou Ndiaye, Awa Diagne, Maimuna Badjie.

THE WEST COAST THEATRE AND CULTURAL  GROUP, which composed and comprised of several Cultural, Drama, Arts, Folklore Theatre Groups spanning citizens  and cultures, traditions from our West Africa sub-region and beyond, was born in The Gambia, where the group has its Secretariat.

Thus, engaged in the safeguarding of Traditional African Culture and Folklore through performance, story telling, entertainment, research, exhibition, training and promotion.


We are committed to encouraging the development of folk dance, music, song, culture, stimulating international culture exchange, and establishing a viable forum for promising folk artists to demonstrate their talents, artistry and inspiration.

We aspire celebrate life, love, friendship and making peace through theatre, arts, drama, dance, story telling, performances and music.  Our overriding objective is to present and depict the diverse and  rich cultural heritage and traditions of the different countries in our West Africa sub-region, and to provide an opportunity for the members of groups to get together and create long lasting friendships.


We specialize in drama, folklore storytelling, accapella music, our repertoire is firmly rooted in the African traditional style using music, dance, drama, storytelling and other artistic forms of expression to present  the diversely rich Traditional African Culture and Heritage.

The Theatre groups are both nationally acclaimed - with scores of productions to their credit - and gradually establishing an international reputation through our affiliations and participation at international an regional events.

The  Group offers full and part time training, occupation and professional services in the field of theatre, arts and culture.

The WCCTG  PLAYERS collaborates with persons and agencies working towards national development and safeguarding our cultural heritage.