Image Born to a hereditary
caste of entertainers,
Mapathé Diop (left)
has drummed all
his life

About the Music

In Senegal, the Wolof play drums to put children to sleep, heal the insane, and cast spells. But most of all, they play drums to dance.

Image Wolof dance

Wolof drummers accompany dancers by playing strongly opposed cross-rhythms that are laced with grace notes. Using precise control, the drummers weave the rhythms in intense patterns. The grace notes combine to give the music a distinctive texture.

On Sabar Wolof: Dance Drumming of Senegal, Mapathé Diop (ma-PA-tay dyup) and his troupe play Wolof dance rhythms and compositions on sabar drums and on the Wolof talking drum, or tama. Sabar Wolof: Dance Drumming of Senegal was digitally recorded near Dakar, Senegal, except for portions digitally recorded at Ironwood Studios in Seattle, Washington.

Image Mapathé Diop (left)
with a drummer from
his troupe, in Dakar


"Explosive, rhythmic and captivating. Mapathé Diop and his troupe play traditional dances and compositions on Sabar drums, used for centuries by the Wolof people of Senegal. Part of a series on traditional African percussion, this disc sheds light on social and cultural practices, not just African rhythms."
--Dirty Linen

"If you are wondering why some of the best African artists today are from Senegal, maybe this CD will provide you with some answers."
--Talking Drum

Audio Samples

[Button] From track 4, "Farwoudiar" (MP3 Format, 25 sec, 296 KB).

[Button] From track 16, "Reuss/Tatou Laube" (MP3 Format, 28 sec, 336 KB).

Catalog Reference

Title: Sabar Wolof: Dance Drumming of Senegal
Artist: Mapathé Diop
Cat. No.: VPU-1003 (CD)

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