A Musical Biography

Tor Dietrichson is a percussionist, vocalist, composer, music educator and nationally recognized recording artist with over 35 years of experience. His extensive knowledge of both East Indian tabla and Afro Cuban conga gives him a unique perspective among his peers. He has been a grant recipient from the Wash. State Arts Commission to teach Indian tabla drums and has received the prestigious Min-On Art Award from Daisaku Ikeda, who is the leader of the Soka Gakkai International, a Buddhist lay organization.

 Starting on conga drums at 16, he moved from Seattle to the Bay Area at 18 to study tabla with Zakir Hussain, becoming the youngest member of the legendary Diga Rhythm Band with Zakir Hussain and Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart one year later. They rehearsed incessantly, even daily, played some large concerts and released one album, Diga, in 1976. He also recorded and performed with The Grateful Dead, played in numerous Latin ensembles, including one with Karl Perazzo and Rebecca Mauleon, and directed his own Latin-Jazz/Salsa group ThunderGod and the Underdogs, shortened to The Underdogs, which featured legendary pianist Carlos Federico, saxophonist Martin Fierro and the now well known guitarist Steve Kimock.

Returning to Seattle in 1982 at age 26, he then started his next project. This new band, Tambo, showcased his songwriting talents and led to a recording contract with Global Pacific/CBS/Sony Records. In 1987 Global Pacific released Global Village and CBS/Sony worldwide distributed the album. The album reached the #2 spot on the New Age charts and the #7 spot on the New Adult Contemporary charts. The album featured Zakir Hussain, flutist Paul Horn, guitarist Joaquin Lievano and was produced by acclaimed violinist Steven Kindler, who also played violin and keyboards on the album.

He also recorded an even more ambitious project, soon to be released, which showcases his vocals. This album features Santana percussionist Karl Perazzo, Brazilian pioneering vocalist Flora Purim, pianist Jovino Santos-Neto, guitarist Joaquin Lievano and was also produced by violinist Steven Kindler. Both albums feature percussion duets with Tor’s close friend Zakir Hussain, who is regarded as one of India’s leading cultural ambassadors and the second one features duets on percussion with Karl Perazzo and a vocal duet with Flora Purim. Karl and Tor also composed an Afro Cuban Rumba Guaguanco piece where they both sing entitled Rumba a la Playa.

After releasing Global Village, he then formed his next band that also took the name Global Village and has enjoyed great success regionally. He has also had a thriving teaching career having taught well over 1000 students in the area on both tabla and conga drums. He has performed and recorded with a great variety of bands and solo musicians in the area as well. Some of these bands include Bochinche, Mangoson and Children of the Revolution.

He currently has numerous bands of his own performing around the area. Four of his ensembles are featured on the 4Culture Touring Arts Roster.  Mambo Cadillac is a Latin Jazz/Salsa band that has been thrilling audiences around the area since April 2005 and features some of Seattle’s finest Latin musicians. His Blues oriented band, Tor Dietrichson Blues Machine, gives him a chance to show his skill as a Blues singer after honing his craft behind the scenes for 40 years. The Pleasure Seekers is collaboration with two great singer/songwriter guitarists; Reggie Garrett and Paul Benoit. Tor also sings and plays percussion in this ensemble. Global Village, his World Fusion ensemble, is once again gearing up for performing around the area and will showcase his original compositions. The Cosmonauts is a mix of R&B, Brazilian, Cuban, Jazz and Blues. Orquesta Caribe is a Latin Jazz band which features the amazing pianist Eric Verlinde.