African Drums, by Luke Despain

When I was growing up, my dad had some record albums by a guy with the fabulous name of Babatunde Olatunji, who specialized in African drum music. This is almost a worthless statement; African is a big place, with over 50 countries and dog knows how many different cultures, so “African drum music” is almost the same as saying “American guitar music” – it doesn’t specify any particular style. Nevertheless, Olatunji tackled quite a few of them, and I find some of them to be excellent. Others, not so much.

So I was searching around for music samples to know which album I should purchase, and came across this independent composition. I can find little information on composer Luke Despain, but it seems pretty clear that he’s not a professional musician or ‘big name,’ which is a shame – he should be. This track is somewhat misleadingly titled African Drums, since it’s synth work all the way and the drums aren’t a huge part of it. Call it anything you like, however – this is a pretty damn solid piece of work, and considerably better than a lot of popular music out now. Despain has an excellent sense of balance and progression, and if I knew more music terms I’d explain this better, but since I don’t, you can fill in for yourself.

The site this embedded track comes from was being a little fussy playing his other tracks for me, so if there’s any difficulty, you can also try here.

According to a comment he made on YouTube, Luke Despain performed this for a Broadway play later on – I doubt that’s surprising to anyone. Here’s hoping he gets tied in with a major label or film studio sometime soon.

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