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The Piano Is A Drum: Randy Weston and Senegalese Master Drummers in a Tribute to Doudou N'Diaye Rose

Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm

John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center 63 Fifth Avenue, Room U100, New York, NY 10003

Throughout his career, the music and culture of Africa has been a primary inspiration for New School Jazz Artist-in-Residence Randy Weston, and he has traveled and performed extensively throughout the continent since the late 1960's. One of Weston's most important artistic relationships was with master Senegalese drummer, Doudou N'Diaye Rose, who was originally scheduled to be featured in this program until his unexpected passing on August 19, 2015.

We are deeply saddened by his loss, and in this program, which was intended to feature N'Diaye as a special guest artist, we will instead pay homage to Doudou's incredible musical legacy , and will present performances by Senegalese drummers led by Doudou's nephew Mar Gueye and his son, Mor Coumba Gueye; sabar dancers, kora, and NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston. 

Doudou N'Diaye Rose was a true legend, and one of the most renowned African musicians of the 20th century. Born Mamadou Ndiaye in Dakar in 1930, Rose was a Senegalese drummer, composer and band leader, and was the recognized modern master of Senegal's traditional drum, the sabar. He is the father of a musical dynasty which includes some of the most successful traditional musicians of contemporary West Africa.

The child of a Griot (West African bard caste) family, Ndiaye Rose began performing in the 1930s, but continued to make his living as a plumber for some time. Shortly before Senegalese independence he performed with Josephine Baker, and became a favorite amongst Dakar audiences. In 1960 he made the first head of the Senegalese National Ballet, and in the 1970s with his Doudou Ndiaye Rose Orchestra. He has also performed and collaborated with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Peter Gabriel, and the Rolling Stones.

He was the founder and chief drum major of the Drummers of West Africa (all members of his family), with which he also performed. He also led an all-female drum group called Les Rosettes, composed entirely of his own daughters and granddaughters.

Ndiaye Rose is purported to have developed 500 new rhythms, and, indeed, his music is quite complex, featuring ever-changing rhythmic structures which he conducts with his trademark vigorous style. He has also invented new types of drum.

This program is part of the Randy Weston Artist-In-Residency series at The New School for Jazz

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