Mor Thiam -

Mor Thiam

Mor Dogo Thiam (born 1941 in Kaolack, Senegal) is a Senegalese drummer, cultural historian, and entertainment consultant. His surname is pronounced "Chahm".


Early life

Born to a Toucouleur family of Quran scholars and a talibé of "Daara" schools, Thiam began his career as a mechanic on the Dioran boat in Lindian outside of Kaolack. The Lindian boat travelled across West Africa and Europe for nine months at a time. During his three-month vacation, he would spend his time drumming with the Théatre National Daniel Sorano in Dakar.

Thiam and his son Akon are part Dogon, an ethnic group of Mali.[1][2]


At the first World Black Arts Festival in 1966, the Théatre National Daniel Sorano was invited by President Senghor to welcome distinguished guests arriving at Dakar's International Airport. At this event, Thiam was met by choreographer Katherine Dunham, who insisted that he join her in the United States to expand the African culture among the African-Americans, who were in the midst of a civil rights movement.

In 1968, Thiam arrived in the United States, settling in East St. Louis and teaching African Cultural Studies at Southern Illinois University. He met with civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, Black Panthers, and Black Liberation group. Thiam played the djembe drum before their meetings in an attempt to reconnect African Americans with their spiritual ancestors in Africa. He worked with Lester Bowie, Freddie Hubbard, B.B. King, Don Pullen, Nancy Wilson, and the World Saxophone Quartet.

Thiam recorded his first album, Ndende Safarra, in 1974 [3] with B.B. King and Nancy Wilson to help victims of an African drought. The group was invited by President Nixon to perform at the White House in Washington D.C.

In 1999, Thiam recorded his second album Back to Africa[4]

Thiam helped promoted African musicians such as Youssou Ndour, Salif Keita, and Baaba Maal.

In 1982, Thiam's group Sone was selected to perform at the opening of Walt Disney's EPCOT Center. Thiam became a consultant for Walt Disney Entertainment Operations, travelling with executives to find talent to perform at EPCOT's World Showcases and the first Lion King Broadway show in 1997.

Thiam has taught at UCLA, Southern Illinois, and Morris Brown College, and at schools in Europe, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Caribbean. In 2005, he started Darou Khafour, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Lac Rose, Bambilor, and surrounding villages in Senegal by working with imams, village leaders, and authorities.

Personal life

In 2009, Thiam made the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and devoted his life to the development of Darou Khafour and building the Mor Thiam Learning Center International School (MTLC).

Thiam resides between Orlando and Dakar, Senegal, and is the father to singer Aliaune Badara Thiam, more popularly known as Akon.[1][2]

Awards and honors

Thiam received awards for his service to African culture, including recognition by U.S. State Department in Washington D.C.; the United Nations; the State Department of Indonesia; and the Trinidad & Tobago Minister of Culture. He received a Lifetime Ambassador Award from Disney.


As leader

As sideman

With Ray Drummond

With Don Pullen

With others


  1. ^ a b Goldsmith, Melissa Ursula Dawn; Fonseca, Anthony J. (1 December 2018). Hip Hop around the World: An Encyclopedia . ABC-CLIO. pp. 300–. ISBN 978-0-313-35759-6. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b Pajon, Leo (3 July 2018). "Dix choses à savoir sur Akon, artiste multi-casquette – Jeune Afrique" . (in French). Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Forgotten Treasure: Mor Thiam "Dini Safarrar" (1973)" . Music Is My Sanctuary. 2016-11-24. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  4. ^ "Back to Africa" . AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-11-24.

External links

Categories: 1941 births | Living people | People from Dakar | African-American Muslims | American people of Senegalese descent | Avant-garde jazz musicians | Dogon | Senegalese drummers | Senegalese emigrants to the United States | Senegalese Muslims

Information as of: 13.07.2020 07:20:06 CEST

Source: Wikipedia (Authors [History])    License : CC-by-sa-3.0

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