Drum Languages Project

Ndiaye Rose family

From left to right: Ousmane Mbengue, Yoad Winter, Doudou Ndiaye Rose, Morcoumba Ndiaye Rose. Dakar, November 2013.


“Sabar is the whole world” – the musical genius of the Ndiaye Rose family

For more than 60 years, the family Ndiaye Rose has been at the forefront of Wolof sabar music in Senegal and the rest of the world. The artistic vision of the Ndiaye Rose family keeps alive some of the most important musical traditions of sabar music and dance in Senegal, and incorporates them into a contemporary setup of African performance.


Doudou Ndiaye Rose (1930-2015) is the founder of a modern tradition of sabar music in Senegal. He is internationally renowned as one of the ground-breaking musicians of Africa. A world-leading expert of African music, Ndiaye Rose was a composer, master drummer, conductor, educator and spiritual leader. He served as the first head of the Senegalese National Ballet, composed hundreds of musical pieces, conducted innumerable ensembles and played with artists like Miles Davis, Josephine Baker, the Rolling Stones, and Peter Gabriel, among many others. In 2006 the UN cultural agency declared him a “living human treasure” for keeping alive traditional rhythms. His spiritual and artistic vision has inspired musicians and thinkers all over the world.

In 2008, grand maestro Ndiaye Rose initiated the research project “When Language has a Beat” together with researchers from Utrecht University.


Ousmane Ndiaye Mbengue (1966-2016) was among the younger masters of the Ndiaye Rose family. Born in Thies, Ousmane had his musical roots in the sabar traditions of his father’s Ndiaye lineage, and in the singing traditions of his mother’s Toucouleur griot family. In the early 2000s, Ousmane started a musical career in the Netherlands. He became a drummer and singer in Anumadutchi ensemble in The Hague. From 2008 until his untimely death in 2016, Ousmane was the driving musical force behind the field work in the project “When Language has a Beat” at Utrecht University. Ousmane’s great spirit and musicianship will accompany anyone who knew him.


Aly Ndiaye Rose was taught rhythms and musical traditions by his father, Doudou Ndiaye Rose. From the age of twelve he toured the world over with his father’s orchestra, playing with artists such as Miles Davis, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Peter Gabriel, among others. In 1989 he moved to The Hague, where he became artistic leader of the percussion group Anumadutchi. In his own orchestra, the Aly Ndiaye Rose Orchestra, he performs his own unique repertoire together with his children, brothers and other family members. Aly teaches African music at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague and at the Amsterdam University of the Arts.


Mor Coumba Ndiaye Rose is a son of Aly Ndiaye Rose. He was educated as a griot in Senegal, and immigrated to the Netherlands with his family as a teenager. Since an early age Mor Coumba has been a drummer in his father and grandfather’s groups. He works as a sabar musician in Europe and Senegal, and has made himself a reputation of a sabar expert, teacher, and as organizer of sabar concerts, workshops, and festivals all over Europe.


To contact the Ndiaye Rose family in Europe and the US:

Morcoumba Ndiaye Rose