Djembe & Mande Music Page/Review Section
(last revision 02/11/99)


This is not only the first double CD set by the legendary Doudou NDIAYE Rose and his family but also the first release since the 1994 Real World label release of Djabote (pronounced Jaw-boat). Lac Rose was recorded live in 1996 (at Miura Percussion & Meeting KAICHOON, Miura-shi, Japan) during one of Doudou's annual tours to Japan. Doudou is joined by 16 members of his family and troupe from Senegal. Unfortunately this live recording is not yet available in the United States. Unlike Djabote, Lac Rose features other drums besides sabars. In addition to the traditional sabar drum family, the "Saurooba" and "Khine" (liner note spelling) drums feature prominently. Also, during the last two songs on Disk 2, the distinctive sounds of djembes reign. However, in the liner notes there is no mention of djembes or by whom they are played. Nonetheless, to my ears there is some great djembe playing. The liner notes say "ASI CO" next to the song titles. This may be the Japanese spelling for ashiko drums. 

If you are a big fan of the Djabote CD and video, you may not immediately appreciate Lac Rose. Disk 1 seemed to me to be a warm-up for the first two songs on Disk 2. Sama Yaye Coumba Rose (#7, Disk 2) and Re Ngay (#8, Disk 2) are definitely the familiar Doudou NDIAYE Rose rhythms. These two songs are both more than 18 minutes each and exactly what you expect and want from this family. Sama Yaye Coumba Rose (My Mother Coumba Rose) is a song for Doudou's mother. As the liner note describes, Coumba died before knowing how famous her son was to become. There is a great opening Bak (long, complicated, structured pieces, usually at the beginning of rhythms, breaks, or endings) which sounds like it is played on the Nder or the Gorong Yuegel. But then you hear a pause for several seconds during the Bak and the sound of Doudou (I assume it is Doudou) hitting the drum pegs. (Hitting the pegs is a way to tighten the sabar drums and change the tones.) Then, the music starts again but you hear the next Bak being played on a very different sounding drum, either the Chole or Lambe (closed bottom sabar drums). On this drum you can hear a very distinctly different slap sound as well as a lower pitch bass. This is GREAT and what a live recording is all about. Then the sabar orchestra gets into full swing in this rhythm. There is one part about half way through this piece where you can hear a sabar rhythm called Bottom Bay (please pardon, this is phonetic spelling) turn into a rhythm commonly known as Kaolack. That shift is created by leaving out one stick part in the first rhythm. When you hear it, you want to back up the music and hear it over and over, it is so subtle but ever so powerful.

Re Ngaye (the second song on Disk 2 ) is another favorite of mine on Lac Rose and is another tribute song in appreciation of Doudou's maternal ancestors. This also has long Baks and solos and throughout this song you can hear various traditional sabar rhythms joined together. These two songs are what sabar drumming is all about and remind me of an analogy a drumming friend used to describe sabar. She said: "If djembe drumming is like Chinese food, sabar drumming is like Thai food. Thai food is crisper, sharper, more distinct." Sama Yaye Coumba Rose and Re Ngaye epitomize this comparison with their sharp, hot, brisk interlacing rhythms. 

The other eight rhythms on Lac Rose will also make you get up and move. But if my friend were to use food to describe them, they would fall into the Chinese food category, albeit gourmet Chinese food. Listen closely to Yaye Balmeu (#6, Disk 1). This is another long song and starts out with the lyrics that are often associated with Lindjen. Saurooba and sabar drums are featured. The melodic saurooba drums blend well with the sabar drums through most of this sixteen minute song. Toward the end of the piece, there is a period of call and response lyrics with the audience. After this, the sabars seem to almost drown out the Saurooba drums. 

The liner notes are written in Japanese, English, and French. However, I question some of the accuracy of the information or the English translation. One thing that was fun reading about in the liner notes, I had heard from his family. When Doudou is practicing or teaching and wants the attention of someone, he calls out their name on the drum and tells them what he wants without missing a beat. Soon a glass of water or cup of tea will show up, or the absent son or daughter will show up for practice. There are also some great shots of Doudou in the liner notes and three musicians describe their experiences working with this inspiring drummer /musician/ composer. 

This double CD is definitely a must for anyone interested in drumming. It doesn't replace Djabote as the greatest sabar drumming music available, but it does provide a rare opportunity to hear live sabar drumming with Saurooba and other drums. 

In addition to Doudou NDIAYE Rose, the liner notes list the other percussionists and their instruments:

Thiouna NDIAYE (Lambe)
Elhadji Ibrahima NDIAYE (Mben-Mbeng)
Elhadji Moustapha NDIAYE (Sabar, Nder)
Aly Cisse NDIAYE (Sabar, Nder)
Samba Aly NDIAYE (Gorong)
Elhadji Mame Lesse Thioune (Lambe)
Mor Coumba Mbengue (Lambe)
Elhadji Amadou Lamine NDIAYE (Mben-Mbeng)
Papa Kaba Mbaye (Gorong)
Oumar Mboup (Mben-Mbeng)
Wagane NDIAYE (Mben-Mbeng)
Doudou NDIAYE Mbengue (Mben-Mbeng, chant)
Mar Gueye (Gorong)
Elhadji Birame NDIAYE (Mbeng-Mbeng)
Ousseynou Mbaye (Mben-Mbeng)
Doudou Thiam Kante (Management)

Review by Karen Hymbaugh
February 10, 1998

Visit the sabar drumming web page at or
Atlanta's T.H.E. Percussion Choir at

You can visit the sabar web site to see a picture of the cover of  Lac Rose at