Babatunde Olatunji

Babatunde Olatunji Michael ( born April 7, 1927 in Ajido, Nigeria; † 6 April 2003 in Salinas, California ) was a Nigerian percussionist.

Olatunji grew up in Nigeria and came early as Yoruba with traditional African music in touch. He came in 1950 through a grant from Rotary International to North America to study management science initially at Morehouse College in Atlanta and then at New York University. There he first began way to start a percussion group. Through his friendship with John Hammond, he came in 1957 to a record deal with Columbia Records. The first record was released in 1959, " Drums of Passion", one of the first pure percussion albums ever. The success of the record led to Olatunji also an ensemble of the same name founded in the example, Clark Terry, Bill Lee, Horace Silver, Yusef Lateef and Charles Lloyd played.

The master drummer has presented not only further your own performances, but also with jazz musicians such as Julian Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Mann, Randy Weston and Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln in their productions, such as Freedom Now, collaborated. He was also friends with John Coltrane, who was named after him and him in April 1967 with a concert, one of his last live performances, assisted in the establishment of his " Olatunji Center for African Culture" in Harlem. Rehearsed the 1962 piece " Tunji " With bassist Bill Lee, he was involved in the music for the feature film She's Gotta Have It by Spike Lee. Since 1985 he has taught at the Esalen Institute.

Although Olatunji was also several times in Europe, but he was especially in North America as an ambassador of African music. He was in the U.S. teacher of many percussionists, such as Mickey Hart, and wrote with Betty Warner - Dietz, the book Musical Instruments of Africa: Their Nature, Use and Place in the Life of a Deeply Musical People ( John Day Company, 1965).

Olatunji is also referred to as the "father of world music ." Carlos Santana had a cover version of " Jingo -lo- ba" his first big hit with " Drums of Passion" contained.


  • Circle of Drums (2005 Chesky )
  • Healing Session (2003 Narada )
  • Drums of Passion [ Expanded] (2002)
  • Love Drum Talk (1997 Chesky )
  • Drums of Passion and More (1994, Bear Family Records) Box Set
  • Drums of Passion: Celebrate Freedom, Justice & Peace (1993 )
  • Drums of Passion: The Beat (1989 Rykodisc )
  • Drums of Passion: The Invocation (1988 Rykodisc )
  • Dance to the Beat of My Drum ( 1986)
  • Soul Makossa (1973 Paramount ) ( Single / EP)
  • Olatunji
  • Zungo! (1961)
  • Drums of Passion ( 1959)

Video / DVD

  • African Drumming [ Instructional Video] (2004)
  • Love Drum Talk [ Video] ( 1998 CHE, TMS, Chesky )