Magatte Sow

Posted on 
February 8, 2022
3:00 am

Magatte Sow –– also known to some as Magatte Fall –– is a three-time Grammy Award winning percussionist, his most notable role being the soloist for Ludwig Göransson’s film score for Black Panther (2018).

Sow has been surrounded by West African music and dance since he was learning to walk and talk. So, it made perfect sense for him to participate as one of the key musicians in the MOJA project. He comes from a long line of African musicians and dancers –– his first performance was at his parents’ West African Drum and Dance Company when he was just two years old.

Now known as a djembe master, Sow learned to play the goblet-shaped drum from his father, Malik Sow, and Kissima Diabate. He also studied the tama with Ndongo Mbaye, and the sabar with Omar Mboup and Chiekh Tirou Mbaye. Today, he has collaborated with world-renowned artists like John Legend, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Pedrito Martinez, Andre Manga, Dianne Reeves, Jill Scott, and many more.

Sow has performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Awards, appeared in the movie Amistad, and been featured on the albums of Rob Thomas, Ashley Maher, and Angélique Kidjo. He won his first Grammy for his work as the percussionist on Kidjo’s album, “Eve.” Sow has also toured with Debbie Allen as both a percussionist and cast member for her musical, Oman Oman.

Several music, drum, and dance festivals as well as historic venues around the world have had Sow perform, from Carnegie Hall Center in New York City to the Festival Modial des Art Negres in Senegal, Africa. He’s also played at the Kennedy Center, the Blues Festival, and the opening of the African-American Museum in Washington, D.C.

Coming to America from West Africa, Sow has sought to intertwine traditional African music with today’s American culture. He does this by performing with a wide range of artists in Los Angeles, drumming for community dance classes, teaching djembe and sabar with his father, and collaborating with the Los Angeles Music Center to perform school demonstrations in Los Angeles County.

On top of all this, Sow also belongs to two ensembles: his father’s Futa Toro West African Dance Ensemble, based in Los Angeles, and his own group called Generation Percu, based in Senegal, Africa. Sow travels between the two locations to maintain his strong connection to both African and American music and culture.

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