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MP3 Tony Vacca and Massamba Diop - Rhythm Griots

Recorded in Senegal and America, Tony Vacca and Massamba Diop bring together their respective worlds on the common ground of Jazz, Spoken Word and contemporary West African music. Guests include the Senegalese Hip-Hop troupe, Gokh-bi System.

12 MP3 Songs
WORLD: African, SPOKEN WORD: With Music

Rhythmn Griots


Tony Vacca on balafon, talking drums, percussion, vocals; Massamba Diop on talking drums and vocals; Assane Diop on talking drum; Tim Moran on saxophones; Steve Leicach on djembe, congas, balafon, shekere and percussion; Joe Sallins on electric bass;Sekou Sylla on djembe and sangban; Special guests, Senegalese hip-hop troupe, Gokh-bi System.

Rhythm Griots (pronounced gree-oes) translates into English as "rhythm storytellers," and rhythm is the common ground shared by Massamba Diop and Tony Vacca. Their music is a living, contemporary link between the traditions of West Africa and America. They blend the fiery Wolof drumming of Senegal''s famous tama drummer, Massamba Diop, with the percussion spectacle of Tony Vacca''s hard-hitting fusion of Jazz, Spoken Word, and World Music.

On this recording, Vacca and Diop conspire with their long-time collaboartors from both America and Senegal to create a powerful and rocking blend of traditions. The West African roots of Jazz rhythms and hip-hop rhymes are present in the form of drummer-brothers Assane and Massamba Diop, and also with djemelfola Sekou Sylla, as well as in the innovative sounds of the Dakar rap scene, provided by Gokh-bi System. As if in mirror image, the African sensibility is alive and well inside the fusion of Jazz and World Music that Vacca''s ensemble is so adept at creating. Tim Moran on sax, Joe Sallins on electric bass, and Steve Leicach on percussion let you know they get how these traditions are connected. Massamba Diop reminds us of his griot origins, adding two uniquely Senegalese spoken word/chants to his brilliant drumming.

If you dig Jazz and World Music, and if you get the connection between the griots and hip-hop, then you should hear this.


Tony Vacca is an innovative American-born percussionist whose music incorporates giant West African xylophones, an incredible collection of over twenty Paiste gongs, hand-drums, and a unique drum set/percussion unit. The range of his work could be summarized by the fact that he has performed and/or recorded with pop icon Sting, Senegalese Afro-Pop star Baaba Maal, Jazz and World Music legend Don Cherry, and the Senegalese hip-hop troupe called Gokh-bi System.

Massamba Diop is internationally recognized as one of the all time masters of the tama drum. He is an extraordinary performer, as well as a knowledgeable and generous teacher. He is one of the original members of Baaba Maal''s world famous band, and has performed with Peter Gabriel, Herbie Hancock, and Carlos Santana.

Together their performances are a spectacular display of rhythm and a world of percussion, demonstrating the power of cross-cultural collaboration. They have created flexible, cohesive, and extraordinary presentations by virtue of their generous commitment to the music and to each other. And it shows. In performance or in hands-on workshops, they convey their expertise, their reverence of tradition and innovation, and a profound respect for their audience.

If you like contrasts, then you''ll see that their collaboration incorporates and transcends Black and White, Christian and Muslim, ancient and contemporary, African and American. But most of all these two musicians are friends; you can see it, you can hear it, and you can feel it. Just like their friendship, their music is built upon mutual respect and appreciation. The result is this meeting of two mindful, soulful, world-class performers; two rhythm griots meeting on the common ground of rhythm and storytelling.

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