Ep 7: Djembe as Passport w/Talu Green


While still in the womb, Talu Green’s parents took a group of children on a trip to Nigeria. One of the elders in the village where they were staying told his mother that if she tapped a 6/8 rhythm on the unborn womb, her child would be musically inclined.


At the age of 9 months, Talu received his first drum in his playpen and has been at it ever since. In 2009, fresh out of college, he made his Broadway debut in the critically acclaimed FELA! which is based on the life of revolutionary musician Fela Kuti who created Afrobeat—a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythms and harmonies. Since then he has toured the world with that show and continued to teach and perform with other shows, festivals, and dance companies. He has vivid recollection of drumming with boys around his age in The Gambia, learning his instrument and the culture, honing his skills on the djembe and exploring his musicianship on the trumpet, Garifuna drums, and many other traditional instruments.

For our chat, I visited his artist space in Brooklyn, which was once the family home, and is full of art, instruments, and all kinds of travel paraphernalia. I also had the privilege of catching him in action on his djembe. Check it out below!

Listen in as we chat about his life as a musician, artist, and traveler. We talk the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Maori traditional welcoming ceremonies in New Zealand, and his favorite thing to collect when he travels.





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