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Safri Duo

Back: Uffe Savery.
Front: Morten Friis, Clark Anderson.
Background information
Origin Copenhagen, Denmark
Genres Electronica
World Music
Contemporary classical
Years active 1977–present
Associated acts Clark Anderson
Michael McDonald
Website Official site
Uffe Savery
Morten Friis

Safri Duo is a Danish percussion duo composed of Uffe Savery (born April 5, 1966) and Morten Friis (born August 21, 1968). Initially classically oriented, by 1999 they were discovered by a label executive working on classical music. After being signed, a track mixing both tribal sound and modern electronica was set to be released in 2000. The result was the popular "Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song)", that became one of the most popular songs in Europe that year.



Early years

Uffe Savery and Morten Friis met in 1977 while attending the Tivoli Garden Boys' Guard, and later, during their time at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music, formed an experimental duo, called Safri Duo, whose name originated from the first letters of their respective surnames. Several albums were recorded and released through Chandos Records, on which the duo performed pieces by both famous classical (a.o. Bach, Mendelssohn, Ravel, whose works were arranged by Savery and Friis for two marimbas, or for marimba and vibraphone) and contemporary composers (a.o. Reich, Nørgård, Ter Veldhuis). Their performances of, especially, Ter Veldhuis' Goldrush, Ravel's Alborada del gracioso and Anders Koppel's Toccata for vibraphone and marimba are often labelled as small milestones by fellow percussionists, as well as other musicians or people related to the world of classical music.

Mainstream success

Earlier in 2000, a track named "The Bongo Song" started appearing on club's playlists. Produced by Michael Parsberg, it soon got airtime on MTV Europe. The mix between tribal drums over trance proved to be a success, and it ended the year as one of the best selling singles in Europe in 2000 as well as featuring prominently in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. This resulted in Safri Duo guesting along with Danish pop group Aqua during the interval of the Eurovision Song Contest 2001 held in Copenhagen. "The Bongo Song" was featured prominently during the 2002 Commonwealth Games held in Manchester, England. The album, named Episode II, hit the market on 4 June 2001, nine tracks long, all featured the same percussion-electronica combination, except "Adagio" that kept the former classic line of the duo. A reissue added a second remix-only CD and the single "Sweet Freedom" recorded with Michael McDonald was released on 30 September 2002. Two more tracks from Episode II were released as singles, "Samb-Adagio" and "Baya Baya". The Bongo Song became the anthem of the world famous Coco Bongo super club in Cancun, where it is the party opening song every night.


In 2003 the new album 3.0 was released. It featured Clark Anderson as vocalist on several of the tracks, including "All the People in the World", "Agogo Mosse" and "Laarbasses". The single "Rise" became a huge success and later they released a new version called "Rise (Leave Me Alone)" which featured Clark Anderson on vocals. In 2004 they released a remix album of 3.0 called 3.5 - International Version. It included the new version of "Rise" and several other tracks with Clark Anderson as vocalist and remixes of the already known tracks.


Safri Duo's latest album Origins was released on 17 November, 2008.[1]


Year Album
1990 Turn Up Volume
1995 Works for Percussion
1995 Lutoslawski, Bartók, Helweg
1995 Percussion Transcriptions
1996 Goldrush
1998 Bach to the Future
2002 Episode II
2002 Episode II - The Remix Edition
2003 Safri Duo 3.0
2004 Safri Duo 3.5 - International Version
2008 Origins
Singles Album Year
"Played-A-Live" Episode II 2001
"Samb-Adagio" Episode II 2002
"Baya Baya" Episode II 2002
"Sweet Freedom" (Feat. Michael McDonald) Episode II - The Remix Edition 2002
"Fallin' High" Safri Duo 3.0 2004
"All The People In The World" (Feat. Clark Anderson) Safri Duo 3.0 2004
"Rise (Leave Me Alone)" (Feat. Clark Anderson) Safri Duo 3.5 - International Version 2004
"Knock on Wood" (feat. Clark Anderson) Safri Duo 3.5 - International Version 2004
"Twilight" Origins 2008


  1. ^ [1]It's a Trap! - Scandinavian Music Journal

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