Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Mamadou N'Diaye Rose: The Mathematician of Rhythms, 1930-2015

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Mamadou N'Diaye Rose: The Mathematician of Rhythms, 1930-2015

Article excerpt

"I never wanted to play blindly! 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."

Mamadou N'Diaye Rose

Source of the above quote: Blandy, Fran. Senegal's 'Human Treasure' Drummer Doudou Ndiaye Rose Dies Aged 85 (AFP [] August 19, 2015; senegals-living-treasuredrummer-doudou-ndiaye-rose-dies-172415582.html, accessed August 22, 2015).

Mamadou N'Diaye Rose (born Mamadou Ndiaye, July 28, 1930-August 19, 2015), nicknamed the mathematician of rhythms and the great master of the drums could lead several hundred drummers rhythms simultaneously, thus the Senegalese drummer, composer, researcher, percussion school founder, and band leader, and was the recognized modern master of Senegal's traditional drum, the sabar. His father was an accountant who did not particularly encourage him to pursue a music career, however he expressed his interest in drumming and traditional African percussion at the age of 7 years and he had a chance to meet El Hadj Mada Seck, the best drum major in Senegal, who became Rose's master for many years.

Rose was the father of a musical dynasty which includes some of the most successful traditional musicians of contemporary West Africa, and the founder and chief drum major of the Drummers of West Africa (all members of his family), and he also led an all-female drum group called Les Rosettes, composed entirely of his own daughters and granddaughters. Rose was purported to have developed 500 new rhythms, and, indeed, his music is quite complex, featuring ever-changing rhythmic structures which he conducted with his trademark vigorous style, and additionally, he also invented new types of drums.

Rose specialized in the sabar (a dance form that has 14 different musical components, also the name of a dance, as well as the lead drum of an ensemble; the ensemble popularized Sabar and thus, the drum is called Sabar Nder which consists of seven drums), he also played many other types of drum such as saourouba, assicot, bougarabou, meung meung, lambe, n'der, gorom babass, and khine. …

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