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Chasing the rhythm with Yussef Dayes

Yussef Dayes speaks like he drums: quickly, deftly and with intent. Leaning in and talking animatedly over a formica table-top in a local south London café, the percussionist and producer explains how the frenetic blend of beats he plays are inextricable from his life. “I’m always chasing the rhythm,” he says. “Drums make you feel – they are an ancient form of communication, they command ceremonies, and they also make you move. They forever play to the human heartbeat.”

For the past 15 years, Dayes has been focused on this ineffable combination of bodily rhythms. He has travelled to New Orleans, Senegal, Bahia and beyond, studying everything from sabar polyrhythms to Candomblé, jungle breakbeats, breakneck drum‘n’bass, and jazz improvisation. “It’s all in service to giving the crowd something new,” he says. “A sense of freedom in the groove, rather than the metronome and rigidity we might be used to.”

Read the interview in Crack Magazine.

[This piece was published on 13/11/23]

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