Drums Are Medicine

Tony Vacca

The Senegal-America Project (World Rhythms WR0601, 2006)

Master drummer Tony Vacca brings together an impressive collection of American and Senegalese musicians in the album titled The Senegal-America Project . The multinational band creates a dazzling mix of traditional music, contemporary world music, jazz, mesmerizing spoken word and little bit of hip hop.

The album is a percussion lover’s dream, featuring Vacca on balafon (bala), junjun, and other types of percussion; and tama (talking drum) drum master Massamba Diop (Senegal), who was a member of Baaba Maal’s band for many years.

The rest of the band includes Gok-b iSystem: ekonting,jembe, spoken word, vocals; Barou Sall: hoddou, vocals; Abdourakmane Diallo: vocals; Fafadi: vocals; Sang B: vocals; Fata: spoken word, vocals; Bada Seck: jembe, sabar; Yourell Ka: vocals; Daouda Dia: ritti; Mbaye N’diaye Tilala: vocals; Derrik Jordan: electric violin; Joe Sallins: electric bass; Tim Moran: saxophones; Steve Leicach: congas; Abimael Robles: drum set; and Abiodou Oyewole: spoken word.

The venture goes beyond the initial music collaboration between Tony Vacca and Massamba Diop. The Senegal-America Project has grown into a network of musicians, teachers, social activists, schools, film makers and health care professionals. In Senegal they have funded new schools, distributed 2750 mosquito nets free to residents in high risk areas, sponsored free health-care screenings, created six collaborative recordings with world class performers, and created a team of artists and schools who are part of its “Arts Exchange” project between Senegalese and American students and professional visual artists.

In the United States the musicians have brought its concerts and workshops programs to over 500 schools, worked with nearly 400,000 students and carried out international art exchanges.

The Senegal-America Project is an outstanding socially conscious percussion album featuring an array of top instrumentalists from Senegal and the United States.

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