Babatunde | Olatunji Arts Center | Baba’s Proteges | Time Line

Babatunde Olatunji, Drum Master
The Godfather of contemporary communal circles, Babatunde Olatunji was born
in 1927 in Ajido, Nigeria, forty miles from the capital Lagos, a fishing village on the
south-facing coast of North Africa. He shared a common dream of unifying humanity
through the international language of music. Baba first signed a recording contract
with Columbia Records in 1959. Though he would record a total of 6 records with
Columbia, his first record, “Drums of Passion” was one of the most popular as it
sold over 5 million copies in 1959 and has since gone on to sell over 50 million copies.
His most recent solo release, “Love Drum Talk” garnered him a 1998 Grammy nomination
for Best World Music Album. In 2002, Sony Music reissued Babatunde’s original Columbia
Records catalog on compact disc. In 2000 Baba began recording his final studio project
Spirit of Musical Africa before his untimely passing in 2003.