Batagraf is a percussion think tank, a constellation of players researching the outer parameters of rhythmic music. Inspired by techniques and traditions from West African Wolof music, the group explores new polyphonic textures. The relation between language and rhythm is constantly being investigated in Batagraf, the collective centered around the collaboration between Helge Norbakken and Jon Balke. Norbakken has developed his personal approach to percussion, inspired by African drum music traditions, but also developed in new directions through collaborations with numerous artists. He has been a member of Balke’s Magnetic North and Siwan projects and has also played on ECM recordings with Jon Hassell and Miki N’Doye. While best-known as pianist and composer-arranger, Jon Balke has also been a devoted percussion player since the early days of Eolén, Afro-jazz group of the early 80s. “Drumming is speaking” says Balke, “and language is a miracle in all its manifestations.” On “Say and Play” Batagraf are inspired by the rich traditions of Wolof, Yoruba, Cuban and Arabic music, most particularly the inner energy and creativity of these cultures.