Sabar drumming is one of Senegal’s most beguiling contributions to the world of music. I was introduced to it in Senegal in 1998 when I decided, sort of last-minute, to sign on to a 2-week trip lead by Dr. Mark Sunkett of Arizona State University. I had only a very little experience playing any kind of music from Africa (a little drumming from Ghana), and no real knowledge about Senegal. Though I had been a member of the ASU percussion studio for several years, I didn’t really know Dr. Sunkett, either; had never had him for lessons, class, or an ensemble. But a good friend whose judgement I trusted was going, so I dug out my passport, caught up on installment payments for the trip, went to an orientation meeting or two, got a bunch of vaccinations, and then got on a plane. Growing up, I’d been fortunate to travel more than most of my schoolmates. Senegal was different than any other place in the world I had been. I went back in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, and 2010. I don’t know when I will make my next trip back, but I know there will be another one.

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