Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Thiokho Diagne: Master Drummer

Ibrahima "Thiokho" Diagne was born in Dakar, Senegal in 1974. Thiokho is a member of the Bambara ethnic group originating from Mali, West Africa. Music and art are a rich tradition in Thiokho's family and from a young age Thiokho had dedicated his life to mastering the taballa drum. As a child he perfected making his own drums from discarded goat skins and empty buckets and invited his brothers and friends to play. In 1989, at the age of 15, Thiokho was introduced to master sabar drummers M'Baye Faye and Lamine Faye of Dakar, Senegal and these were the first men to integrate Thiokho into the Senegalese music culture with his inclusion into the bands "Solo Cissoko" and "Kisito Band". With "Kisito Band" Thiokho had his first exposure to life outside of Senegal as he toured and performed throughout West Africa for six years. In 1993 Thiokho joined "Zall Seck" and recorded his frist two albums. In 1995 Thiokho met Souleman Faye and Alioune Kasse and traveled extensively througout Africa, Europe and South America performing and recording subsequent albums. In the years following, Thiokho's experience and expertise with the drum grew as he played with numerous Senegalese artists including Mependa Seck, Makhou Lebou and Baba Maal. In 1997 Thiokho created his own percussion group "The New Generation: Gewel gi Seck" and they illuminated the streets of Dakar with their innovative rythmic style. In 1999 Thiokho auditioned for and was accepted into "Le Ballet National du Senegal". With the ballet, Thiokho toured through Europe, Japan, Korea and Africa and the United States. Thiokho presently resides in Vermont where he lives with his wife. Thiokho is currently the percussionist for world renowned, Grammy award winning, Angelique Kidjo, of Benin. They are currently touring North America, Europe, Central America and the Carribean, and parts of Africa in celebration of her most recent album, "Djin Djin."