Deggi Daaj International Festival

Deggi Daaj International with Doudou Ndiaye Rose on RTS1 television


Deggi Daaj International, Festival of Drumsets and Dance

Nathan “Fallou” Fuhr — Founder and Artistic Director

Deggi Daaj is a gift back to Senegal and its drum and dance culture of Sabar. In response to the gradual marginalization by contemporary Dakar society of this precious and powerful cultural treasure, this festival aims to re-energize and promote the intangible cultural heritage of Sabar, and cultivate its evolution within modern Senegalese and international creative interests, through the universal medium of a dynamic drumset orchestra.

At the foundation of Deggi Daaj, is the blessing and collaboration of Nathan’s adoptive Senegalese “papa” Doudou Ndiaye Rose, the living legend godfather of Sabar drumming. Doudou is one of the most celebrated African musicians of the 20th century and has been formally named a Living Human Treasure by UNESCO. The opportunity for international and Senegalese young professional drumset and dance artists to intimately learn from and collaborate with Doudou is the creative synergy which is at the heart of Deggi Daaj International.


Doudou Ndiaye Rose shaking hads with Nathan Fuhr after the show on RTS1 television


for international drummers and dancers:

To create life-changing growth opportunities through direct creative immersion in Senegalese Sabar rhythmic language and culture, and through direct collaboration with Doudou Ndiaye Rose. Thus returning to their home countries as humble new ambassadors of Senegalese Sabar. Likewise, inspiration to share their respective artistry and cultural rhythms with Senegalese artists in collaboration, Senegalese audiences in performance, and Senegalese youth in workshops is essential for participation.

for Senegalese drummers and dancers:

To create new intensive growth and professional opportunities through direct creative collaboration, cultural exchange, and concert touring with acclaimed guest international drummers and dancers. Thus being acknowledged and applauded by Senegal audiences and cultural institutions in an entirely new artistic light.

for Senegalese and international youth of both genders:

To receive full access to our open-doors rehearsal week, including the freedom to “sit-in” and participate as desired. And to have the opportunity to take workshops with our inspiring international guest artists— For example in making percussion and drumsets from trash and recycled materials— emphasizing themes of environment/recycling, creativity, self-sufficiency, and gender equality.

for Senegalese audiences:

To experience no less than a renaissance in cultural pride, by witnessing the evolution and universalization of their most precious and powerful performative cultural heritage.

for Doudou Ndiaye Rose and family:

Continue cultivating a creative synergy with Doudou which grows in depth and momentum, and valorizes the notion of evolution and celebration of his rhythm science, beyond the land of Senegal and beyond the years of his lifetime.

for all of posterity:

Commence dialogue with major cultural institutions and individuals who are keen on actualizing the idea of an Institut Doudou Ndiaye Rose in Dakar.

Core values

The healing power of music— for both individuals and societies

The cognitive development value of rhythmic intelligence

Cultural exchange

Appreciation and transcendence of cultural differences

Equal access to opportunities

Originality and creativity

Gender equality


The festival’s maiden voyage was in June 2012, thanks to the generous support of the Spanish, American, and Brazilian embassies, and an anonymous donor. Four international drummers were flown in to join two Senegalese young professionals for a brilliant workshop week of exchange and creation together, in collaboration with local Sabar drummers, followed by an inspired week together of concertizing and guest-teaching in Dakar and St. Louis. Seven captivating public performances reached a live audience of over 1200 people from all classes of society, plus television broadcasts.

Deggi Daaj’s dialogue with dance is vital, and ever-manifesting in distinct and fascinating ways with both Sabar and international dancers. For this reason, collaborations with choreographers and dance artists is welcomed and cherished. Dancers such as Karoliina Halsti Ndiaye, Khoudia Roudia, and Fatou Samb in 2012— and Mina Lange, Nodoka Kamata, and Fatou Samb in 2013— have been creative and invaluable inspirations to Deggi Daaj audiences. Starting in 2014, dancers are formally invited internationally and locally, and integrated into the artistic team alongside the international and local drummers.

Deggi Daaj is a Wolof expression which means: to listen to rhythms and grasp understanding, to fully comprehend without words, or to be called to the dance.


Deggi Daaj International 2012 Flyer

Deggi Daaj International
1st edition
4 — 16 June 2012


drumset artists:

Davide Brazia Cambaza Rodrigues (PT)
Colin Hacklander (US)
Marcus Junquera (ES)
Darragh Fingleton (IE)
Cheikh Baye Fall (SN)
Dacko Fall (SN)

Sabar drummers:

Trio Fadel Ndiaye HLM
Doudou Ndiaye Rose & family

artistic director and chef d’orchestre:

Nathan Fallou Fuhr (US/SN)

project manager:

Sabine de Tonnac (NL/FR)

communications assistance:

Marguerite Camara (GN)

2012 partners:

Centre Culturel Blaise Senghor, Afri’Cart, Studio Morehuman, Festival XEEX, Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar Fashion Week, International School of Dakar, Festival Duo Solo Danse, Cultura Dakar, Les Petites Pierres, Africa7, Embassy of Spain, Cultura Dakar, Embassy of the United States, Embassy of Brazil

Deggi Daaj International 2012 partners


Deggi Daaj International 2013 flyer

Deggi Daaj International
2nd edition
10 — 28 June 2013


drumset artists:

Masaya Hijikata (JP)
Dacko Fall (SN)
Maurizio Vitale (IT)
Samuel Symenouh (BN)
Tom Bevan (UK)
Cheikh Baye Fall (SN)

sabar drummers:

Trio Fadel Ndiaye HLM
Doudou Ndiaye Rose & family

artistic director and chef d’orchestre:

Nathan Fallou Fuhr (US/SN)

project manager and dancer:

Mina Lange (JP/DE)

documentary artist:

Nicholas R. Chen (US)


Juan Pablo Pacheco (CO)

Crowdfunded via Indiegogo:

Jesper Mouritzen, Laura Haykel, Annie Moudry, Stephanie Young, Marcus Vinicius Marinho, Chloé Fangmei, Yuka Otsuki, Simone Posch, Nicholas Chen, Lukas Fittl, Francesca Pinna, Tara Degrief, Bill Fuhr, Jane Bevan, Kitty Mooschief, Matthieu Burner, Yui Lange, Amy Regalia, Catherine Pitt, Jose Thovar, Murielle Diallo and 11 anonymous donors.

2013 partners:

Institut Francais Dakar, Les Petites Pierres, Studio Morehuman, Festival Duo Solo Danse, Charly, Yataal Art, Centre Culturel Blaise Senghor, RTS1 Television, Les Recidivistes, Ministere de la Culture du Senegal, Embassy of Spain, Cultura Dakar, Embassy of the United States, Food’iet Sandwicherie, Sen Fashion, Shala Yoga Dakar

Deggi Daaj International 2013 partners


Deggi Daaj International 2014 flyer

Deggi Daaj International
3rd edition
2 — 21 June 2014


drumset artists:

Marcelo Araujo (BR)
Brian Mcomber (US)
Andi Stecher (AU)
Philippe Leydenbach (LX)
Dacko Fall (SN)
Yannick Proenca (SN)

sabar drummers:

Trio Fadel Ndiaye HLM
Doudou Ndiaye Rose & family

dance artists:

Aida Colmero Diaz (ES)
Mina Fuhr (JP/DE)
Papa Sangone Vieira (SN)
Sharon Lomano (IT)
Fatou Ndiaye (SN)

artistic director and chef d’orchestre:

Nathan Fallou Fuhr (US/SN)

project manager:

Ndeye Filly Gueye (US/SN)


Youssouf Balde (SN)


Marietou Seck (SN)
Simon DeBevoise (US)

2014 partners:

Embassy of Luxembourg, Embassy of the United States, Ministere de la Culture Senegal, Embassy of Spain, Cultura Dakar, Casa Africa, Dak’Art Biennale, SEN TV, Dakar Fashion Week, Studio Morehuman, Les Petites Pierres, The Art House, Koulgraoul, Festival Xeex, Peuplesenegalais, Agendakar, Carrefour Dakar, Lens on Life, Bizenga Photography, Belya Fashion, Restaurant Addis Abeba, Food’iet Sandwicherie


Deggi Daaj International 2015 flyer

Deggi Daaj International
4th edition
17 July — 2 August 2015


drumset artists:

Coin Hacklander (US)
Kevin Romain (US)
Marco Santos (PT)
Yannick Proenca (SN)
Raphael Ojo (CI)
Jic Joe (GN)

sabar drummers:

Doudou Ndiaye Rose & family (SN)

dance artists:

Nodoka Kamata (JP)
Mina Fuhr (JP/DE)
Emi Affranchi (FR)
Bin2 (GM/DE)

artistic director and chef d’orchestre:

Nathan Fallou Fuhr (US/SN)

rap artists:

Ibaaku Staz (SN)
Francis Bassene (SN)
Rex T (SN)


Alisa Hamilton (US) & Mina Fuhr (JP/DE)

consultant & graphics:

Erwan Le Vigoreaux (FR)

dnr family liason & master of ceremonies:

Madiama Diagne (SN)


Moustaffa Nasaj (BE)


Ivor Placca (GB)


Rokhaya Gassama (SN)


Marcia Juzga (CO)


Lamine Ndiaye (SN)
Kader Ndiaye (SN)
Ndeye Mareme Ndiaye (SN)
Cheikh Bamba Faye (SN)
Pape Omar Sy (SN)

2015 partners:

Embassy of the United States, Ville de Dakar, La Senegalase de L’Automobile, Eiffage, Ministere de la Culture Senegal, Embassy of Japan, TFM, Vibe Radio, SenExpress, Kirene, Afrosiders, Les Petites Pierres, Agendakar, Grand Theatre National, Loman Art House, Eclectica Dakar, Sharkys, The Dancehall