Paco Sery

b. 1958, Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Coming from a large family, he has 17 siblings, Sery began playing drums at the age of 10, usually resorting to home-made equipment. He remained self-taught and did not…
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Artist Biography

b. 1958, Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Coming from a large family, he has 17 siblings, Sery began playing drums at the age of 10, usually resorting to home-made equipment. He remained self-taught and did not learn to read music. Throughout his teens he played locally until 1980 when he travelled to Paris at the invitation of pianist-organist Eddy Louiss for a recording session and thereafter made France his home. He became well-established in French performing and recording circles, working with numerous artists from different genres, including Manu Dibango, Claude Nougaro and Nina Simone. In the 90s he played with Joe Zawinul’s Syndicate band, appearing on World Tour. Speaking of Sery, Zawinul has remarked that he regards him as a complete musician and the greatest drummer he has ever played with. In the autumn of 1998, Sery quit the Zawinul Syndicate and in the late 90s recorded with Louiss’ 41-piece Fanfare band, Sentimental Feeling, and Italian trumpeter Flavio Boltro’s Franco-Italian band, Road Runner. Soon, however, Sery was leading his own band on engagements throughout Europe.

In the summer of 2000, the Paco Sery Group played several jazz festivals including Paris, Tabarka and Brignoles. For his debut album as leader, Sery recruited guests Dianne Reeves and Angélique Kidjo. In 2003 Sery took his group to South Africa where they played at the Newtown Music Festival. Interviewed for the French drumming magazine, Batteur, Sery was eager to expound upon the spontaneity he encouraged from his sidemen, an attitude that underlines the vibrancy of the music the band plays. Sery, who plays drums left-handed, also plays the kalimba. This is an instrument of South African origin that consists of a box resonator with sound holes and upon which are mounted metal tongues depressed and released by the thumb nail to create haunting effects that Sery uses with style.