Make your own free website on






Originally from the City of Thies in the Midwest of Senegal, Tamsir is the descendant of a family of musicians (griot). In those families, the art of music is transmitted from father to son. In the African tradition, the musicians were called "history keepers" because they would recount the history of the nation in their songs. Their music contributes to the rebirth of the African heritage. With such a background, Tamsir is specialized in traditional ballet and drums playing. He plays the Djembé, the Tama, the Sabar and the "Xalam". Tamsir is also a great dancer and masters traditional dances from all the provinces of Senegal.

The Djembé

The Djembé was born in the manding country, between the city of Kankan (guinée) and Bamako (Mali). It has the shape of a Chalice in wood that women would use for food preparation. On top of it was stretched the skin of antelope with leather ropes. Nowadays, the antelope's skin is replaced with goat's skin and the leather ropes with synthetic ropes.  The djembé is a well-known instrument in West Africa. This instrument is played for secular danses, for farmers and various ceremonies.


The Tama (or talking drum)

In the past, the Tama was used as a communication instrument. A message could then go from one village to another thanks to the sounds of the Tama. Tama. The inventor of this instrument is Ba Tamba, son of Koukouba. It's a small drum that the player holds under his arm pit. He can then play using his fingers and a curved drumstick. Before using the drumstick, it is coated with honey. That explains the quality of the sound coming out of the Tama. A little pressure on the arm helps change the sound. 

The Sabar

The sabar is a drum made with wood and goat skin stretched with wood and ropes that help tuning it. It is played with one hand and a thin drumstick in wood.  "Sabar" is a generic name that defines not only the instrument but also the danse and the parties where this instrument is played. There are many kinds of Sabar, each for a scale of sound. You have the ningane, the mbëng-mbëng, the nder, the gorong-mbabas, the thiol  and the xiin.


The Xalam (or Khalam)

The Xalam is an instrument very close to the guitar. It is the prefered instrument of the wolof "griots" in Senegal and Gambia. This instrument is very rarely used alone.