"Every day, the tam-tams played for marriages, baptisms and circumcisions. Whenever I left the house, the sounds distracted me. It's as if they said, 'Doudou, don't go to school, you must come and play the tam-tam'."
Doudou was working as a plumber when he met Senegal's then drum-major Mada Seck, who worked at the cargo port and "knew all the secrets of percussion".
But Doudou wanted to develop his gift and decided to travel deep into his west African country where he met the elders with traditional knowledge. Doudou:
"I met the elders so that they could teach me the very precise language of drums that everybody recognised then: how to announce a bush fire, that a snake has bitten someone and what kind of snake, that a woman who has just got married has gone to the conjugal home and that the husband is happy with her."
When Doudou had managed to learn more than 100 different rhythms, the elders bestowed on him the title of 'chief drum major'.
After Josephine Baker invited Doudou to play with her on stage in 1959, Doudou collaborated with music greats such as Miles Davis and the Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel and the Kodo drummers in Japan.
In 2006 Doudou N'Diaye Rose was declared a 'living human treasure' by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, a title bestowed on those highly skilled in traditional dance or music and who transmit their knowledge to younger generations. In this case it includes Doudou's many children and grandchildren who will uphold the tradition. Among them are Doudou's sons and percussion greats El Hadji N'Diaye Rose, Aly N'Diaye Rose, Moustapha N'Diaye Rose, Birame N'Diaye Rose, and Mamadou N'Diaye Rose.
The photos with this article show Doudou performing during the Big Bang Drumfestival in The Netherlands in 2005. He also performed with Bill Bruford, Luis Conte and Chad Wackerman as a member of The World Drummers Ensemble during the same festival.
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