7 rows · May 24, · Find album reviews, stream songs, credits and award information for Circle of . Jul 27, · Originally recorded in , but never released until now (two years after Olatunji's death at age 76 after a battle with diabetes), Circle of Drums is a powerful reminder of the primal potency of. This is the first recording put out since Babatunde Olatunji passed away in Circle of Drums radiates with the spirit of drumming. Three drum masters: Baba Olatunji, P-Funk/Weather Report percussionist Muruga Booker, and long time Olatunji collaborator Sikiru come together and explore the rhythm, tone, and over tones of the drum and voice/5(8). May 24, · This is the first recording put out since Babatunde Olatunji passed away in Circle of Drums radiates with the spirit of drumming. Three drum masters: Baba Olatunji, P-Funk/Weather Report percussionist Muruga Booker, and long time Olatunji collaborator Sikiru come together and explore the rhythm, tone, and over tones of the drum and voice/5(8). Babatunde Olatunji, second from right, at the Tal Vadya Utsav International Drums & Percussion Festival, Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi, Babatunde Olatunji (April 7, – April 6, ) was a Nigerian drummer, educator, social activist, and recording artist.
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A member of the Yoruba people , Olatunji was introduced to traditional African music at an early age.
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He read in Reader's Digest magazine about the Rotary International Foundation's scholarship program, and applied for it. He went to the United States of America in Olatunji received a Rotary scholarship in and was educated at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia , where he desired to, but never sang in the Morehouse College Glee Club.
Olatunji was a good friend of Glee Club director Dr. Wendell P.
Whalum and collaborated with him on a staple of the choir's repertoire, "Betelehemu", a Nigerian Christmas carol. After graduating from Morehouse, he went on to New York University to study public administration.
There, he started a small percussion group to earn money on the side while he continued his studies. Two years later he released his first of six records on the Columbia label, called Drums of Passion.
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Drums of Passion became a major hit and remains in print; it introduced many Americans to world music. Drums of Passion also served as the band's name.
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Olatunji won a following among jazz musicians, notably creating a strong relationship with John Coltrane , with whose help he founded the Olatunji Center for African Culture in Harlem. This was the site of Coltrane's final recorded performance.
Coltrane wrote the composition "Tunji" on the album Coltrane in dedication to him. In , Carlos Santana had a major hit with his cover version of this first album's " Jin-go-lo-ba ", which Santana recorded on his debut album, Santana , as "Jingo".
Olatunji composed music for the Broadway theatrical and the Hollywood film productions of Raisin in the Sun.
Olatunji was known for making an impassioned speech for social justice before performing in front of a live audience. He toured the American south with Rev. Olatunji was a music educator, and invented a method of teaching and recording drum patterns which he called the "Gun-Dun, Go-Do, Pa-Ta" method after the different sounds made on the drum. He taught drum and dance workshops year-round starting in the late s.
Over the years he presented workshops nationally and internationally at colleges, universities, civic, cultural, and governmental organizations. He taught a summer drumming and African dance course with his wife, at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York for many summers during Family week.
He also taught at the Esalen Institute in California beginning in For the few years before his death Olatunji made his home at the wild Big Sur coastline. He became a scholar-in-residence at the Esalen Institute. During this time, he already suffered severely from diabetes and was assisted by Nora Arjuna, Leo Thompson and Leon Ryan until shortly before his death in Salinas, California , in from diabetes, on the day before his 76th birthday.
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