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Abdissa "Mamba" Assefa (b. 1973) is one of the most popular percussionists in the field of Finnish jazz and popular music. Assefa started to play drums at the age of 11, and got in the Pop & Jazz Conservatory when he was only 15 years old. Having graduated from the conservatory, he travelled to Gambia, whose local music with its djembe drums and polyrhytmics made a strong impression on the young musician.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, Assefa has played percussions and drums in a number of bands from a wide variety of genres. Assefa’s collaborations include Sami Saari, Rinneradio, The Five Corners Quintet, Teddy Rok Seven, Sami Pitkämö, Tuomo Prättälä, Johanna Iivanainen, Quintessence, Giant Robot and MP4, just to name a few. He has also performed in the live line-ups of such widely known stars as Ricky Martin and The Brand New Heavies in Helsinki.

Lately, the versatile Assefa has been working with e.g. Jarmo Saari’s new ensemble, Jarmo Saari Republic, and the fiercely groovy Timo Lassy Band. One of the feathers in the latter’s cap worth mentioning is a sold out concert at the main venue, Huvilateltta, at the Helsinki Festival in August 2013.

ed. Annamari Innanen 5.2.2014