Masters of the SABAR
Masters of the Sabar is the first book to examine the music and culture of Wolof griot percussionists, masters of the vibrant sabar drumming tradition. Based on extensive field research in Senegal, this book is a biographical study of several generations of percussionists in a Wolof griot (gewel) family, exploring and documenting their learning processes, repertories, and performance contexts from life-cycle ceremonies to sporting events and political meetings. Patricia Tang examines the rich history and changing repertories of sabar drumming, including dance rhythms and bakks, musical phrases derived from spoken words. She notes the recent shift towards creating new bakks which are rhythmically more complex and highlight the virtuosity and musical skill of the percussionist. She also considers the burgeoning popular music genre called mbalax.
The compact disc that accompanies the book includes examples of the standard sabar repertory, as well as bakks composed and performed by Lamine Toure and his family drum troupe. These were recorded by Notable Productions.