© 2013 Womad Ltd
Company Reg. No. 2734599
Place of registration : England
Registered address :
Think of East and Central Africa, and you almost immediately think of guitars - the twirling lines of the Bhundu Boys, the adapted mbira style of Thomas Mapfumo's guitar players, Remmy Ongala's spiralling melodies. Think of West Africa and drums come to the fore - the mighty percussion instruments of Ghana, the tama, or talking drum, of Senegal that peppers the music of Youssou N'Dour and Baaba Maal. "Sabar" is a Wolof word for percussion: "sabar rek" means "drums only" - and that's exactly what you get with this eight-piece which features the main players from the multi-talented troupe Ifang Bondi. Drums are an integral part of all kinds of ceremonial occasions in West Africa, from weddings to initiation rituals, healing sessions to harvest festivals. They become the focus of a crowd's energy, sending out dance rhythms and then varying the pulse to the tempo an audience requires. The master drummer (in this case, Ebou Gaye) is in charge of the direction in which the music goes, picking up on the pulse of the crowd. At home, of course, the waving of banknotes in his direction always helps the master drummer to choose the right pattern! Sabar Rek's music takes in all the main varieties of West African percussion grooves, from the chattering style of Senegalese mbalax to the heavier rhythms of Mali's Jola people. Vocal snippets are scattered throughout the performance, as are the dance steps associated with each beat. Sabar Rek's whistle-stop tour is as good an introduction to the heartbeat of West Africa as you can get.