Doudou N’diaye Rose: The Very Precise Language of Drums

SKF NOTE: Truly amazing drumming. “The very precise language of drums,” indeed. RIP.

Doudou N’diaye Rose, 85, Senegalese Drummer and ‘Human Treasure,’ Dies

Doudou N’diaye Rose, a master drummer and bandleader from Senegal who became an emissary of his native culture’s joyous and complex rhythms to the rest of the world, touring with percussion orchestras in Europe, Asia and the United States, died on Wednesday in Dakar, Senegal. He was 85.

Mr. Rose was skilled on a variety of native African drums, but he was especially known as a virtuoso of the sabar. A tall wooden drum covered with goatskin and circled with pegs, the sabar, which is usually played with one bare hand and one stick, was traditionally used for communication between villages and to accompany myriad social occasions. Mr. Rose studied those traditions, absorbing what he called “the very precise language of drums,” in travels throughout Senegal and expanded the language, creating numerous riffs of his own.

…Rose appeared onstage or on the bill with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, the Rolling Stones and Peter Gabriel….

“I never wanted to play blindly,” Mr. Rose said. “I met the elders so that they could teach me the very precise language of drums that everybody recognized then: how to announce a bush fire, that a snake has bitten someone and what kind of snake, that a woman who has just got married has gone to the conjugal home and that the husband is happy with her.”

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