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King Marong

King Marong


Gambian Master Djembe Drummer, pecussionist, singer, composer, teacher and cultural ambassador

Born in Bakau, The Gambia West Africa, King has been performing professionally since the age of 12. King developed his skills in the coastal fishing village where he grew up surrounded by the griots (hereditary musicians) and international musicians who were his mentors for Senegambian drumming and cultural priorities. In his late teens he formed his band Kunta Kinteh and consequently travelled with it in The Gambia, Senegal, UK and Europe. King has built an international reputation as a master of many African drumming styles on instruments such as the Djembe, Boucarabou, Doundoun and Sabar, teaching percussion to students from around the world.

“People in my classes speak many different languages but they all come together through drumming.”

Since arriving in Australia, King has developed a reputation as being a versatile and dynamic performer. He has worked with local West African and Australian artists to introduce the complex and powerful drumming rhythms, melodic kora music and vivid dance style of his culture to Australia. His involvement in many collaborative projects has enabled him to work with both local and international musicians including energetic live percussive dance music with local DJ’s, to the sleek and sophisticated ‘afro-jazz-reggae-fusion’ of his band Super Afro Mandinko. For this project King has been collaborating with some of Melbourne’s premier musicians, playing and arranging the traditional songs of the Gambia with a contemporary feel. King has had a strong working relationship with the Boite World Music Café, contributing to the Melbourne Millennium Chorus at the Melbourne Concert Hall as a solo artist. King has also represented his culture on many occasions in performances around the state through his close work with Multi Cultural Arts Victoria.

Now a resident in Melbourne, King has taught percussion to students from the USA, Europe, Netherlands, Scandinavia, UK, Japan, Australia, NZ and Canada. He performs regularly at festivals, ceremonies, private celebrations, corporate functions and has been artist in residence at many government and private schools in Australia.

His band King Marong and Safara, formed in 2001, is an acoustic, percussion-based representation of the many traditional songs and dances performed for local Senegambian ceremonies in both the city and the villages. Safara incorporates vocals, djembe, sabar, doundoun, kora, dance, cow bell and shakers in a spiritually inspiring repertoire of dynamic tribal rhythms and visually stimulating dance routines specific to Senegal and The Gambia.

King is now enrolling students in his group masterclasses at Drumtek School of Music.


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