Joakim Lartey was born in Ghana, West Africa. He was mentored by traditional musicians and folklorists.
He is the first son of ace sportscaster and journalist Joe Lartey ("Over to you Joe Lartey") of GBC radio fame. He grew up in Ghana's capital, Accra and was immersed in the music of the streets and countryside. As a young boy, he was exposed to the music and rhythms of many cultural groups that coalesced around the famous Achimota School and The Institute of African Studies. He spent time around the carving studio of Mr Kofi Antubam, a major Ghanaian icon. He attended Prempeh College a boarding school in Kumasi the capital of Ashanti culture. He attended cultural gatherings all over the city on weekend passes from school. He listened and played constantly with like-minded young musicians. Like many of his contemporaries, he was drawn to American and British popular music piped in by short wave radio from Accra and overseas. He immersed himself in the burgeoning Afro-funk movement which fused African rhythms with the sound and attitude of rock, funk, soul and jazz. He performed in a few youth bands. (Wantu Wazuri among others) He travelled to the USA as an exchange student, lived in Washington State and played percussion in stage bands and rock bands around the state. This was soon after the original Woodstock Festival. He returned to Ghana for two more years at Prempeh College. (for Ghana and British system folks, the A-Levels)
He returned to the U.S. and graduated from Vassar College studying Biology and Ethnomusicology. While there, he played in jazz groups notably Poughkeepsie based "Sextus". After college, he studied at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock under the guidance of many master musicians from Jazz and World traditions like Karl Berger, Colin Walcott, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Ingrid Sertso and many others...

He was the lead vocalist and percussionist of trailblazing, Woodstock-based Afro-funk band
Futu Futu

He has worked with artists from diverse genres including Jack DeJohnette, Baba Olatunji, Natalie Merchant, John Hall, Kali Fasteau, Phoebe Legere and many others...

He has worked with innovative and original theater groups like Hudson River Playback Theatre and Arm of The Sea Theatre.

Joakim is an audio and studio enthusiast. He produces his music in a computer assisted studio environment.

He plays an assortment of electronic and acoustic drums and percussion instruments... congas, bongos, timbales, talking drum, sentir (ancestral bass), balaphone, drumkat trigger pads, miscellaneous hand percussion instruments and voice.

He has facilitated rhythm workshops in the US, Jamaica and Brazil and performs in a wide variety of venues like schools, colleges and community centers...