Opening the iTunes Store.If iTunes doesn't open, click the iTunes application icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress Indicator
Opening the iBooks Store.If iBooks doesn't open, click the iBooks app in your Dock.Progress Indicator

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection.

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To preview and buy music from Drums of Passion by Babatunde Olatunji, download iTunes now.

Already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now.

I Have iTunes Free Download
iTunes for Mac + PC

Drums of Passion

Open iTunes to preview, buy, and download music.

Album Review

Having come to the U.S. from his native Nigeria to study medicine, percussionist Babatunde Olatunji eventually became one of the first African music stars in the States. He also soon counted jazz heavyweights like John Coltrane ("Tunji") and Dizzy Gillespie among his admirers (Gillespie had, a decade earlier, also courted many Cuban music stars via his trailblazing Latin jazz recordings). And, in spite of it being viewed by some as a symbol of African chic, Drums of Passion is still a substantial record thanks to Olatunji's complex and raw drumming. Along with a cadre of backup singers and two other percussionists, Olatunji works through eight traditional drum and chorus cuts originally used to celebrate a variety of things in Nigeria: "Akiwowo" and "Shango" are chants to a train conductor and the God of Thunder, respectively, while "Baba Jinde" is a celebration of the dance of flirtation and "Odun De! Odun De!" serves as a New Year's greeting. The choruses do sound a bit overwrought and even too slick at times (partly due to the fact that most of the singers are not African), but thankfully the drumming is never less than engaging. The many curious world music fans who are likely to check this album out should also be sure to look into even better African drumming by native groups like the Drummers of Burundi and the percussion outfits featured on various field recordings. [The 2002 CD reissue on Columbia/Legacy adds the track "Menu Di Ye Jewe (Who Is This?)", which was recorded at one of the 1959 sessions for the album, but was previously unissued in the US.]

Customer Reviews

Drums of Passion

The first time I ever heard this music was in my senior year in high school in 1960. I went out and bought the album and must have played it till the grooves were worn out (this was back in the days of 33.3 rpm vinyl records. Around that same time, I had the good fortune to hear and see Olatunji several times in live performance. The experience was electrifying! Take a minute to sample this music. I'd suggest cut 2, Oya, as a starting point. It will give you a taste of the power of this music.


I first heard this album as an LP in the late '60's. I've loved it ever since I first heard it.

Blast from the past

My parents owned this album (and probably still do) back in the 60s. I remember listening to it when I was a kid (dating myself here). I had an ancient cassette recording of it, and i pretty much played it to death. Long story short: a friend of my daughter's heard one of the tracks and fell in love with it, and I was very excited to find it on iTunes. The drum beats are infectious. I defy anyone to sit still and just listen.

As a point of comparison, play "Jin-Go-Lo-Ba" back to back with Santana's "Jingo" to see where he got his influence. Magic.


Born: 1927 in Ajido, Nigeria

Genre: World

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Nigerian-born drummer Michael Babatunde Olatunji grew to international fame beginning in the late '50s with his groundbreaking 1959 Capitol Records debut Drums of Passion. The album was a huge hit, remaining in print for decades and standing as one of the first examples of the American record-buying public taking an interest in international music. Jazz kingpin John Coltrane took a particular liking to Olatunji's music, and the two became friends, eventually going so far as to collaborate on the...
Full Bio
Drums of Passion, Babatunde Olatunji
View in iTunes

Customer Ratings