Tony Vacca's World Rhythms Ensemble is an extraordinary group of musicians. As if that's not enough, they work with an international cast of world class guest performers for concerts and special projects. The stable of players associated with Tony's World Rhythms programs includes Tony Vacca on balafon, gongs, and percussion, Tim Moran on saxophones, Joe Sallins on electric bass and percussion, Steve Leicach on djembe, congas, balafon, and percussion, and Derrik Jordan on electric violin, percussion and voice. Special guests like dancers Abdou Sarr and Sekou Sylla, and tama drummer Massamba Diop, tour with the group as often as circumstances allow.
The music of TONY VACCA'S WORLD RHYTHMS ENSEMBLE is a hard-hitting earthy fusion of Jazz, World Music, and Spoken Word. Combining elements of traditional African and Afro-Cuban rhythms with the American-born tradition of innovation,they create a sound that is simultaneously elegant and slamming. It's the hypnotic and powerful sound of giant West-African balafons; the urban bite of a jazz saxophone; the dreamy lyricism of electric violin; the funk and magic of electric bass like you've never heard.All mixed well with a world of rhythm and some blow-your-mind spectacular percussion. Oh, and did we mention dance? Special guest Sekou Sylla, former member of internationally acclaimed Ballet Africain, provides the perfect blend of grace and power, of ancient and contemporary, to compliment an already extraordinary group. More? Massamba Diop, Senegalese master of the tama or talking drum, who is a member of Baaba Maal's world famous band, joins in for one or two tours each year.
In essence, the group is a self-contained festival of World Music, which is no surprise to those who know and follow their work. Vacca's own description of the group helps to explain how and why they've been playing together for over a decade;
"It's no accident that this group is like it is.I mean every one of these players is a dedicated musician, composer, and leader in his own right. We've created an almost psychedelic, collective kind of storytelling with this music. Every time we play together I'm amazed by what happens. My respect and appreciation for each of these musicians just keeps getting deeper. I
guess when you put this kind of extraordinary skill together with our experience, and the spirit of generosity that everyone brings to this music, amazing things are going to happen on a regular basis. It just blows my mind."
Each of these players has a unique sound and a profound influence on the music. And all of these musicians work together in formats from duo to septet, in a process that illustrates the power of music as a global common ground, both preserving and
changing the traditions from which it is made.