Tony Vacca Tony Vacca's World Rhythms
Tony Vacca
    > Newsletters


A monthly update on projects, concerts, special events and news about what's going on. Check in often. I'll be adding news and comments as they occur, and then I'll be sending out monthly updates. Just sign on to the "Mailing List" on this site and you'll receive it.

April News

April News

Some might call them 21st Century Griots: some might describe their music as "ancient meets the future;" some might see them as the living link between African and American Hip-Hop traditions, or as outspoken global citizens. By whatever description, the Senegalese group called Bideew Bou Bess has to be seen and heard to fully grasp their innovative fusion of sounds, and just how cool they truly are.

Bideew Bou Bess is comprised of three brothers: Moctar, Baidy, and Ibrahima Sall. They are experienced and articulate performers with a clear sense of their place in the world's ever-evolving music scene. In concert performances they effortlessly blend sweet vocals with savvy poetic commentary and strong traditional melodies. For young performers, they have already compiled an impressive history. It includes a World Tour with Yousou Ndour; a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning rapper and singer Wyclef Jean for their first album released in Senegal; a collaboration with French Rapper Passi for two songs on Passi's "Genesis" CD that became a double gold disc in France and lead to Passi producing their first international release, "Original."

Bideew Bou Bess now has their own Senegal-based production company, doing international collaborations for recordings and performances, while maintaining a busy year-round concert schedule in response to their second international CD "Ndoubelane." Their collaborations with the award-winning film production company Gelongal has produced stunning music videos, and has added to their ever-growing international audience; in 2012 they did a tour in Brazil and Latin America.

The Senegal-America Project

Collaborations began between Bideew Bou Bess and US musician/poet Tony Vacca when they were introduced by Pape Pouye, one of Senegal's most innovative music producers. Vacca invited them to be part of his "Things Gotta Change" CD project, and Bideew Boiu Bess responded by hosting Vacca's Senegal-America Project and poet Tantra Zawadi at their sold-out anniversary concert at The Daniel Sorano National Theater of Senegal (Senegal's equivalent of CarnegieHall).

2013 began by continuing this collaboration when Tony Vacca and Abiodun Oyewole (of The Last Poets) received a Grant from the US Embassy in Dakar to bring the Senegal-America Project back to Senegal for a series of concerts, workshops, and collaborations. In addition to Vacca and Oyewole, the group included poet Tantra Zawadi, and musician Derrik Jordan. This time they filled the CISES Arena, and then the Joseph Ndiaye Amphitheatre on Goree Island.

Next up: A US mini-tour this April with The Senegal-America Project, featuring Bideew Bou Bess, Abiodun Oyewole, Tony Vacca, and Derrik Jordan. (Two more US tours are scheduled during the next year.)


For more info on the musicians participating in this Spring tour:

Abiodun Oyewole:
Tantra Zawadi:
Derrik Jordan:
Gokh-bi System:
Jo Sallins:

(Posted 3/29/2013 by admin)

November News:

November News:
I am so very happy to announce that I've received a Federal Assistance Grant from the US Embassy in Dakar Senegal. This grant is in support of the collaborations I've been doing over the past decade with Senegalese and American musicians and poets. It all takes place in Senegal as part of The Senegal-America Project.

The grant specifically supports our performance at Le Festival des Formes et des Rythmes du Monde. The festival will take place in Toubab Diallaw, Senegal, and runs from December 15th-31st. For more info go to:

Featured performers in our group at the festival include several long-time collaborators in The Senegal America Project. From America: Abiodun Oyewole (of The Last Poets), Brooklyn poet extraordinaire Tantra Zawadi, and violinist/composer Derrik Jordan. Our Senegalese crew will include Massamba Diop, Barou Sall and several others.

We'll also be doing performances in Dakar and on the Island of Goree with one of my favorite Senegalese groups called Bideew Bou Bess. Check out the video below and you'll see why I dig them.

Other activities on this trip will include collaborative recordings and videos with an amazing consortium of artists called AfriCultUrban (Urban African Cult), and then with groups like Gokh-bi System, Daara J, and Focoti Mic. We'll also be hosting open discussions on World Music, Fair Trade collaborations, poetry and Hip-Hop.

Finally, we'll be meeting and collaborating with The English Speakers groups in Senegal, under the direction of poet and social activist Daouda Fall, sharing our stories, our visions, and our creations.

What began as an impulse to address change in a changing world has become a project to create a collaborative recording by groups and individuals throughout the world community. The idea is that by using our music to share our deepest hopes and visions, we'll recognize something of ourselves in each other.

Over the past three years I've spent sixteen days at Soundesign Studio in Vermont, three days doing remote recordings in Senegal, five days at Jimi Mbaye's studio in Dakar, and a little over $12,000 in out-of-pocket expenses and $4,000 in work done as the instigator, producer, co-composer/arranger, and as one of the many performers.

I have totally loved every second.

Everyone who has touched this project has imbued it with their artistry and with their souls, and it feels like that every time I listen. And as if by some miracle, all of the participants in this project will be in Senegal this December during my stay. So on this upcoming trip I'm hoping to work on adding a few new elements, and then making a video with those who have made this project so very magical...and so very beyond what I imagined. I can't wait.

If this sounds like something you'd like to help with, from finances to in-kind donations, please let me know. (

It was 1996, and I was preparing to return to Senegal to study with Massamba Diop, (one of the true masters of the tama, or talking drum), and to do a few concerts with Baaba Maal, one of Africa's great singers and a truly deep spirit. After that remarkable trip, it occurred to me to invite some of my favorite friends and collaborators to join me and see what creative projects we could instigate with my ever-expanding circle in Senegal.

It was amazing.

Twelve years later "Projects and Visions" is still happening. It has evolved into an annual trip, open to all who dare. Past trips included musicians, poets, dancers, teachers, film makers, story-tellers, nurses, geologists, community activists... you get the idea. The common focus was and continues to be to create meaningful collaborations and transformational responses to what we share of common issues and common ground.

On December 22nd we'll head out on this year's journey, which coincides with performances and related activities supported by the Embassy's grant and the story above. If you're interested in being part of next year's trip just click on this link:

(Posted 11/12/2012 by admin)

home About Event Calendar Senegal-America Project World Rhythms Ensemble Educational Programs profiles booking info videos press photos/brochures CDs balafons & talking drums My Paiste World links Newsletters Things Gotta Change
World Rhythms: tel/fax 413.665.1067 • email:

Join Us:
Join us on facebook Join us on youtube

sitemap contact us join our mailing list home home