Pape Demba Samb Biography
Master hand drummer, Pape Demba "Paco" Samb, is an internationally known musician born 1976 in Dakar, Senegal who has performed with many major musicians based in Senegal and the Gambia including Senemaio, Ballet Gorgoru, Dormu Africa, Ballet Ngangan, African Ballet, Katchikaly, Youssou N’Dour Cultural Group, Marie Samuel N’Diaye Group, Batin Band, Laba Sosseh, Moussa Ngom, and Bala Sidibé. For many years he performed with his own group Super Ngewel in his native Senegal.
Paco is a griot. He comes from the Samb family that has been the keepers of the ancestral history, stories, and music of his native Wolof peoples in Senegal for hundreds of years. His mother was a dancer and a singer; his father, a drummer; and his brothers and sisters all dance, sing and play drums. He performs both traditional and contemporary Senegalese music. In October 2014, Paco released his first solo album in the U.S. with his own group Super Ngewel.
Paco arrived in the U.S. in 2013 as part of the Gambian group, the Dinkendo Family Band. The band toured the East Coast until they landed in Delaware in November 2013. Since then Paco has performed regularly as part of the local Delaware and Philadelphia music scenes, including performance with Fatoumata Diawara from Mali, Tony Vacca, the Rege-Walker World Jazz Ensemble, Kombu Combo, Griots Umoja, and the Philadelphia group, the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble. In November 2015, Paco was hired as a guest musician for the reknowned Philadelphia-based African drum and dance ensemble, Kulu Mele, to coordinate the music for two newly choreographed works based on traditional Senegalese rhythms.
In addition to teaching weekly private drum classes, Paco regularly teaches workshops at a variety of levels for different ages including children, adults and people with emotional and cognitivie disabilities. He teaches primarily djembe, but also sabar, dun dun, and bucket drumming for kids. In his workshops he teaches a mix of traditional rhythms, African songs and proper technic. He strives to make his classes relaxed and fun while promoting the love of African music and drums.
Paco not only plays drums but he builds them as well. He also sells a limited number of high quality djembes, dun duns, tamas (talking drums) and sabars made by him and his family.