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Tony Vacca and Massamba Diop

May 10, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EDT


What happens when you combine Massamba Diop’s fiery Senegalese tama drumming with Tony Vacca’s spectacle of World Percussion? For over two decades these two musicians have come up with a different answer pretty much every time they perform. Expect some above-and-beyond pyrotechnics, expect some whisper soft gongs, a sonorous avalanche of notes from a giant balafon (West African xylophone), some spoken words in Wolof and English and oh yeah, a palpable vibe of friendship, connection and love these two guys have created from years of working together.


Tony Vacca is an innovative American-born percussionist whose music incorporates giant West African xylophones, an incredible collection of over twenty Paiste gongs, hand-drums, and a unique drum set/percussion unit. The range of his work could be summarized by the fact that he has performed and/or recorded with pop icon Sting, Senegalese Afro-Pop star Baaba Maal, Jazz and World Music legend Don Cherry, and the Senegalese hip-hop troupe called Gokh-bi System.

Massamba Diop is internationally recognized as one of the all time masters of the tama drum. He is an extraordinary performer, as well as a knowledgeable and generous teacher. He is one of the original members of Baaba Maal’s world famous band, and has performed with Peter Gabriel, Herbie Hancock, and Carlos Santana. And oh yeah, if you’ve seen The Black Panther then you’ve him play. His playing accompanies most of the action scenes.

Together their performances are a spectacular display of rhythm and a world of percussion, demonstrating the power of cross-cultural collaboration. They have created flexible, cohesive, and extraordinary presentations by virtue of their generous commitment to the music and to each other. And it shows. In performance or in hands-on workshops, they convey their expertise, their reverence of tradition and innovation, and a profound respect for their audience.

If you like contrasts, then you’ll see that their collaboration incorporates and transcends Black and White, Christian and Muslim, ancient and contemporary, African and American. But most of all these two musicians are friends; you can see it, you can hear it, and you can feel it. Just like their friendship, their music is built upon mutual respect and appreciation. The result is this meeting of two mindful, soulful, world-class performers; two rhythm griots meeting on the common ground of rhythm and storytelling.

Massamba Diop in performance with Baaba Maal:
Tony Vacca: solo performance excerpt:
The African Embrace:


May 10, 2018
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EDT


The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts Center
605 Main Street
Middletown, 06457 United States
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