World Drummers' Ensemble

A Coat of Many Colors

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Serious musicologists could spend hours and hours describing the many different types of percussion in world music. Africa (both Black Africa and Arabic North Africa) has given listeners numerous percussion instruments, as have Asia, the Pacific Isles, and the Middle East -- and in Latin America, percussion can be broken down into a variety of categories ranging from Afro-Cuban to Afro-Brazilian to Andean. Many world music enthusiasts love hearing regional percussion as part of a full band playing Colombian cumbia, Indian pop, or Algerian rai, but it takes a truly hardcore world music fanatic to enjoy an album containing nothing but drumming and percussion such as A Coat of Many Colors. This two-sided disc (an audio CD on one side and a DVD on the other) focuses on two live concerts (the first recorded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1996; the second in Amsterdam, Holland, in 2005) by an all-star quartet billed as the World Drummers Ensemble, which includes Bill Bruford (of Yes fame), Senegal native Doudou N'Diaye Rose, and busy session players Chad Wackerman and Luis Conte. N'Diaye brings a strong knowledge of West African percussion to the table, while Conte is well-versed in Afro-Cuban percussion -- and A Coat of Many Colors doesn't focus on a specific type of world music but rather favors more of a world fusion outlook. All four of the musicians sound like they are enjoying themselves a great deal, and the CD/DVD's multiculturalism is a definite plus. Of course, hearing nothing but drumming without any piano, horns, or strings is an acquired taste, but those who can appreciate rhythm for the sake of rhythm (without melody, harmony, or conventional song structures) will find a lot to enjoy about these inspired live performances.

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