Jembe Legend Papa Ladji Camara, dead at age 81

Papa Ladji Camara, Lyrichord recording artist and world renowned drummer who many believe is responsible for introducing the Western world to the Jembe, has passed away in Pikine, Dakar, Senegal on October 24, 2004.As the third child of Fanyuma Mamadi and Baleia Camara, Papa Ladji Camara was destined to become a great djembe drummer. Papa Ladji Camara was born June 15, 1923, in Norassoba, Guinea, West Africa. Papa’s fate was revealed to his parents by his maternal grandfather before he ever entered this world. His grandfather said that through the great sacrifices his family will have to endure, this third child would become one of the greatest drummers this world would ever know. His gift will take him from his native Guinea to Mali, Senegal, Europe, and America and in fact, throughout the world.

In 1939 at the tender age of 16, under the direction of Keita Fodeba, Ladji Camara performed with Les Ballets Africains and toured the world with his legendary mastery of the Jembe.

He had lived in the United States from the late 1950’s teaching and performing until moving to Senegal in February, 2001.

He is survived by 4 sons and a daughter, as well as countless students and fans who he considered to be his children and who called him “Papa.”

[Buy his CD,

Les Ballet Africains

[Read the

tribute to Papa Ladji]