King Marong has been performing professionally since the age of
12. Marong developed his talents in the coastal fishing village
of Bakau where he was born and grew up exposed to griots and international
musicians who were his mentors and role models. In his late teens
he formed his band Kunta Kinteh and later toured in The Gambia,
Senegal, Europe and the UK.
King Marong has built an international reputation as a master
Gambian percussionist of many African drumming styles on instruments
such as the Djembe, Boucarabou, Doundoun and Sabar, teaching percussion
to students from around the world.
Since arriving in Australia, King has developed a reputation as
being a versatile and dynamic performer. He has worked with local
West African and Australian artists to introduce the complex and
powerful drumming rhythms, melodic kora music and vivid dance
style of his culture to Australia. His involvement in many collaborative
projects has enabled him to work with both local and international
musicians including energetic live percussive dance music with
local DJ’s, to the sleek and sophisticated ‘afro-jazz-reggae-fusion’
of his band Super Afro Mandinko. For this project King has been
collaborating with some of Melbourne’s premier musicians, playing
and arranging the traditional songs of the Gambia with a contemporary
feel. King has had a strong working relationship with the Boite
World Music Café, contributing to the Melbourne Millennium Chorus
at the Melbourne Concert Hall as a solo artist. King has also
represented his culture on many occasions in performances around
the state through his close work with Multi Cultural Arts Victoria.
Now a resident in Melbourne, King has taught percussion to students
from the USA, Europe, Netherlands, Scandinavia, UK, Japan, Australia,
NZ and Canada. He performs regularly at festivals, ceremonies,
private celebrations, corporate functions and has been artist
in residence at many government and private schools in Australia.
His band King Marong and Safara, formed in 2001, is an acoustic,
percussion-based representation of the many traditional songs
and dances performed for local Senegambian ceremonies in both
the city and the villages. Safara incorporates vocals, djembe,
sabar, doundoun, kora, dance, cow bell and shakers in a spiritually
inspiring repertoire of dynamic tribal rhythms and visually stimulating
dance routines specific to Senegal and The Gambia.
King Marong Safara Music School:
A cultural ambassador for Senegambia, King has created the Safara
Music School in Melbourne where he teaches hand percussion and
dance on various levels.
+61 (02) 6689 7040