Pape Mbaye and Chosani Afrique
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Pape Mbaye and Chosani Afrique

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Pape Mbaye
Governor Hindmarsh, Sun Sep 12

What a week it had been for me. I had plenty of errands to run, had a friend to see off overseas, and even had to pop in to hospital for an operation on my hand (oh what fun!). Gee, I was glad when it came to a close. And to finish it all off before the new week began, I couldn’t think of anything better to do than to head down to the Governor Hindmarsh to catch the groovy world music sounds of Pape Mbaye and his band. And I was sure glad I made that decision… I was completely blown away!
As I sat down with my Guinness (thanks to the barmaid for the love heart!), I waited and admired the stage set up. After all, it isn’t every day that you see a stage set with djembes, sabars, tamas and congas alongside the usual instrumentation! Before long, the main man took the stage with his band, guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, drummer, and percussionist, and proceeded to warm up the small but enthusiastic crowd. The first number was quiet, moody tune where Pape enlightened us all with some beautiful African philosophy. After that groovy session, the band was joined by a horns section (a sax and trumpet), and the stage erupted with the sounds of Africa, with Pape clearly demonstrating why he is the head drummer of his village in Senegal.
Before long, just about everybody in the entire venue was on their feet and dancing away to Pape’s music. He incorporated a range of different styles into the music, from Latin, and jazz to reggae, all with an excellent African underlying flavour.
The first set drew to a close, but it wasn’t too long a wait before Pape was back. The second set opened with a couple of all-percussion numbers, and the room was just filled with rhythm. The whole crowd was back on their feet in no time! The set contained more of the same brilliant sounds that we experienced in the first set, but with a more up-tempo, dance inducing vibe.
Sadly, it all had to come to a close, but I left knowing that I could face the coming week with renewed energy. I will definitely make sure I catch Pape Mbaye when he comes to Adelaide again in the (hopefully) not too distant future. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Pape’s great CD Listen! Drum Speaking, and check out the website at <drummingafrica.com>.
- Rip It Up


Discography

Listen Drum Speaking 2003
Yoff 2005

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Bio

The beaming smile of Pape Mbaye is as well loved as his wide musical talents. It’s an infectious smile that seems to go hand-in-hand with the West African rhythms that lie at the root of his music. Pape Mbaye, and his eight-piece band Chosani Afrique, bring some of the magic of West Africa to Byron Bay – a night of Latin, reggae and jazz, inspired and led by this uncontainable master percussionist.

Captivating and hypnotic, these are the sounds of a culture steeped in magic, ritual and a strong spirituality. They’re the sounds that bring people together, that celebrate, commemorate and rejoice. They’re the sounds that have sophisticated a world of music from jazz to R’n’B to pop. And they’re the sounds that Pape has made since childhood.

Pape was born into the special Griot cast, creative leaders and pioneers who are also the guardians of their culture’s oral history and artistic traditions. From 1976-1999 he was head drummer of the village of Yoff in Senegal, and was a percussionist and dancer with L'Ensemble Traditionelle Sorano, L'Orchestre Nationale du Senegal and Back to Africa.

Seven years ago he left Senegal, West Africa, to make a new home in Sydney. He brought the traditions of a great musical culture, which is now fast becoming a major part of Sydney’s own multicultural music scene. Renowned the world over, Pape has played alongside musical legends such as Miles Davis, BB King and Ringo Starr. In 2003 he released his first CD Listen! Drum Speaking, followed by a second, Yoff in 2006 and now combines performing with teaching. (He even takes adventurous music-lovers on trips back to Senegal for a first-hand experience of music and life there).

Pape plays sabar, tama, djembe, bougarabou, saorouba, congas, and timbales. He’s also a dancer, choreographer, teacher and Griot.

This year Pape’s son, Yacou Mbaye joined him here in Australia and as is the way of the Griots, he too is a drummer and dancer. Yacou plays talking drum and sabar in Chosani Afrique adding a richness and depth of sound to his father’s drumming that really does transport the audience to Africa. No visa required.

So bring along your dancing shoes, the music is infectious, you won’t be sitting still.