Percussionist Assane Thaim is one of the foremost masters of the tama (talking drum). He has been a member of Youssou N'Dour's band since the mid-'70s, but also recorded with Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and Harry Belafone.
Assane Thiams's reputation as a virtuoso tama player is similar to the reputation of a western guitarist like Jimi Hendrix.
Thiam played an important role in the early development of Senegal's pop-like mbalax music, forming Etoile De Dakar, with percussionist Babacar Faye, in 1975.
With the arrival of N'Dour two years later, the group was re-christened Super Etoile De Dakar.
As a solo artist, Thiam has continued to explore traditional Wolof chanting. Together with his brother, Yamar Thiam, a popular session player in Finland, Thiam formed an 18 piece ensemble of tama players and dancers.