Student Matinee Series

Aba Diop

Grades 7-12

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Aba Diop is a master percussionist, vocalist and composer in an unbroken ancestral line of Senegalese griots: the traveling artists, wisdom-keepers and cultural lineage-holders foundational to African societies. Aba Diop was born to play sabar. A griot’s griot, his father was griot, as was his father’s father, as was his mother’s father, and both his grandparents’ parents: wisdom-keepers of the talking drum. Even in Senegal, where Aba lives and works, this unbroken lineage is a rarity. Aba brings these lifeways spanning thousands of years into the 21st century through his complete mastery of the sabar. Rhythmically the music is influenced by traditional West African polyrhythms, the modern, Latin-influenced syntax of Senegalese pop music known as mbalax, and Aba’s own original compositions. Melodically you hear the Sufi-influenced hovering microtonal singing and maqam scales accompanying the elastic, improvisational guitar styles found in the rock and jazz music of the west. The overall effect is deeply mystical, uplifting, and undeniably dance worthy. You will hear elements of traditional West African music interweaving with jazz, folk, funk and more, all performed with viscerally compelling electricity.


Student matinee performances illustrate the dynamic relationship between the performing arts and the subjects explored in the classroom. Tickets are available at a discounted rate of $10 for schools and homeschoolers.

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