University of Kansas West African Drum Ensemble,
Directed by Dylan Bassett
University of Kansas West African Drum Ensemble, Directed by Dylan Bassett
The KU West African Drum Ensemble won the Percussive Arts Society’s World Percussion Ensemble Competition for 2017 and will perform at the 2017 PASIC. They play traditional music from three main areas in West Africa: djembe and dunun drums from the ancient empire of Mali, which today encompasses areas of Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso; sabar drums from the Wolof of Senegal, which include mbëng mbëng, nder, tungune, cól, talmbat, and tama; and the Ga drums of Ghana, which include kpanlogo drums, gankogui, axatse, atoke, and tamalin. The group focuses on developing healthy technique, playing traditional parts and improvisational ideas, learning about the cultural context of the music and finding joy and excellence in playing.
Dylan Bassett is a lecturer in percussion at the KU School of Music and the Director of the award winning KU West African Drum Ensemble. He has studied West African percussion in Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, the Gambia and the U.S. with Mamady Keita, Sekou Balandougou Keïta, Famoudou Konate, Fode Bangoura, Mohamed Camara, Mustapha Tettey Addy, Massala Mbaye, Petit Diop, and Assame Diouck. Dylan has performed in the U.S, Senegal, Guinea, and Ghana with various artists, including Souleymane Faye, Orchestra Baobab, Magatte and Her Orchestra, Balandougou Kan, Fassile Doumbia, Djembe Kaan, Sapes Highlife Band, Quixotic Performance Fusion, Gash/Voight Dance Theatre, Jon Fishman, Greg Ince, Jamie Masefield, and SUNU. Dylan has received numerous grants and awards, including the FLAS Research Fellowship from Gaston Berger University, Senegal, and as a director his ensemble won the Percussive Arts Society’s 2017 World Percussion Ensemble Competition. Dylan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Missouri State and a Master of Arts in Global and International Studies with emphasis in West African percussion from the University of Kansas. For more information go to http://www.dylanbassett.com