Doudou N'Diaye Rose, 1994

The late Doudou N'Diaye Rose was a legendary master drummer of Senegal, a one-man repository of all that is old and new in Senegalese drum-lore.

Composer and producer of all Luc Bresson's film scores ("Nikita," "The Big Blue," et al), Eric Serra has played bass with many major French artists, including Jaques Higelin who took him to Africa on the all-important tour of 1984.

"I first met Doudou Ndiaye Rose in 1984. I was on tour in Africa for the first time, and I could already feel this continent was magical, especially for a musician. For African people, dancing is as natural as breathing and the music is always around, as essential as the air.

When we arrived in Dakar, Senegal after one month touring, I had already had a few experiences, more particularly in Zaire, that definitely changed my vision of music. Doudou was playing on the same stage before us, with twenty drummers, mostly his daughters and sons. I spent his whole concert staring at him and was really amazed by what I was hearing. All these drummers were really one, conducted by Doudou who appeared like some martial arts master. The music they were playing was obviously based on rhythm more than on harmony, but so developed that it sounded as rich and nuanced as a symphony. Then, during our show, I had the luck to play with Doudou standing right in front of me, eye to eye, for a few minutes, and I could feel he was giving me something important. It was like receiving in five minutes as much as I could have learned in several years.

After this moment, my life as a musician was definitely changed. In November 1990 when I heard from Béatrice Soulé that Doudou had no recording contract, I decided to produce his first album as a gift to him and because I think he really is the most amazing rhythmatist on this planet. One week later I met him in Dakar, and in March 1991, we spent one week recording the album on the island of Gorée, with fifty drummers and eighty singers. The last day of the recording was Good Friday, in the middle of Ramadan, and under the full moon, fifty Muslim drummers and eighty Catholic singers playing, singing and dancing together, with a perfect mastery of their art and an amazing joy for living."

"The vocals and the drums unite to generate an aura of terrifying majesty..." The Beat


  • winds of mixed rhythmic and vocal counterpoint that’s so warm... ...deeply/sharply toned and mesmerising you can almost taste it. Absolutely brilliant! On The Street (1994) (UK)
  • clear as it is atmospheric, as complex as it is moving; you get the feeling that at the time, nothing else mattered to these musicians. Let them carry you away. May/June 1994 Sterns (UK)
  • ...the best up-tempo gospel music. The vocals and the drums unite to generate an aura of terrifying majesty...every track is animated with the verve and the erotic pulse of the best up-tempo gospel music. The Beat (1994) (USA)
  • ...the power and passion of the performance are captured perfectly. 1 August 1994 Rock ‘n’ Reel (UK)
  • ..booming, bludgeoning hypnotic vastness... April 1994 The Wire (UK)
  • With the Catholic singers, Muslim drummers and that deep African feel for rhythm, how could this music be anything but magical? April/May 1994 Voice Peninsula (UK)
  • ..the result is rich and varied...powerful stuff... April 1994 Vox (UK)
  • rich and nuanced as a symphony. March 1994 On (UK)
  • ..lusty bashing, reminiscent of the Burundi drummers but on a far greater scale. Birmingham What’s On (1994) (UK)
  • ..every phrase as clear as glass! Recorded on the Senegalese island of Gorée, this is MAGIC! May 1994 World Music (UK)
  • Rose’s rhythmic symphonies are precisely arranged... ...and meticulously orchestrated with thunderous bass drums pounding the tempo... July 1994 Folk Roots (UK)