Master drummer Djibril Diagne is a respected and experienced teacher in the Perth African community, and will now impart his knowledge about African Percussion with you! Djibril is versatile in many African percussions including djembe, sabar, tamar, saourouba, bougarabou and doundouns.
Djibril Diagne was born in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa. Born into a well known “Griot” family, where music and storytelling have been passed on for generations, Djibril was the eldest of 13 children, and began learning the language of the drum from his father at the tender age of six years old. It was from this early beginning that Djibril learnt the value and responsibility of what it meant to be born a Griot – a true story teller who is responsible for maintaining and protecting the oral tradition and family history through music, poetry, storytelling and dance.
Djibril studied various instruments, including djembe, sabar, tama, saourouba, bougarabou, and doundouns, and began performing with his dad at local ceremonies and festivals from the age of seven. During this time in Senegal it was forbidden for anyone to play drums unless they were from the Griot caste. These musical story telling families had a very important role within the community, and their expertise in bringing people together and sharing knowledge through their music made them highly sought after. They were often called upon to perform for the king, tribal chiefs, and other dignitaries, and playing alongside his father, Djibril’s reputation began to develop and he became well known in many communities.
After finishing primary school Djibril decided to leave school and become a full time musician, dedicating himself to his craft, in particular focusing on the sabar and djembe. For 5 years he performed solidly with other local musical groups in Senegal, and during this time he also took on the responsibility of teaching his younger siblings. Throughout this time Djibril’s reputation grew stronger, and he was often asked perform as a special guest with international groups that came to visit Senegal.
Djibril’s performance career really took off when his talent was recognised at age fifteen by the highly acclaimed musician and ballet director “Mor Thiam” (Father of the now famous singer AKON) and he was asked to join the international “Unite African Ballet”. Djibril went on to perform with the ballet for many years, where he worked his way up to becoming the musical director, where he had creative control over the drumming section of the ballet and was the lead master drummer. He toured internationally with the ballet, to both America and Europe, where he developed a strong following for both his on stage performances and also for his teaching. He ran many workshops throughout this time and also went on to perform with various other international touring ballets including “Ballet Sinomew”, “Tam Tam D’afrique” and “Ballet Sangoumar”. He also performed with other Senegalese musicians who had gone on to have international success, including Baba Maal, Germaine Acogony and Toubab Dialow. He also performed with the famous griot drummer “Doudou Rose”, and his sons “Thiouna N’diaye” and “Arona N’diaye”.
However it was the creation of his own ballet “Ballet African” that provided him with the most fulfilment, recruiting the most talented dancers, singers and musicians from his homeland to put together a ballet which was vibrant and dynamic, and brought the traditional music of Senegal to the people of the world. He was asked to return to many of the cities that he visited, and teach people about the music and culture that he so loved.
Djibrils successful musical career, spanning over the last thirty years has seen him travel the world and captivate audiences wherever he goes. On top of this he is also a dynamic teacher responsible for training many of the most successful drummers in his own country and abroad. It is because of his talent, dedication, experience and Griot heritage that Djibril Diagne is a true master drummer.
Djibril now resides in Australia with his young son, who is learning what it means to be a Griot growing up in a western world. Djibril is a highly respected member of the Perth drumming community and teaches and performs regularly.