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Bill Cotter

One of the performers outside the Africa pavilion

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Drummer Jeff Porcaro reminisces about how the iconic drum track was created for “Africa,” Toto’s most recognizable hit song, which went to Number 1 on the Billboard Charts in February, 1983:

“I was about 11 when the New York’s World Fair took place, and I went to the African pavilion with my family. I saw the real thing; I don't know what tribe, but there were these drummers playing, and my mind was blown. The thing that blew my mind was everybody was playing one part... So when we were doing "Africa", I set up a bass drum, snare drum and a hi-hat, and Lenny Castro set up right in front of me with a conga. We looked at each other and just started playing the basic groove.... We played for five minutes on tape, no click, no nothing. We just played... I was trying to get the sounds I heard at the New York World's Fair." 

Modern Drummer" (November 1988)

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Interesting! I think of him more from Steely Dan. 

Olatunji was a big deal, at least on NYC radio, w a hit in 1960 later covered by Santana. 

Before satellites, only place Pocaro heard and saw exotic cultures was in travelogues and... world’s fairs.  


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