Safri Duo

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Safri Duo
Back: Uffe Savery.
Front: Morten Friis, Clark Anderson.
Background information
Origin Copenhagen, Denmark
Genres Electronica, world, dance, instrumental
Years active 1990–present
Associated acts Clark Anderson, Michael McDonald, Aqua
Members Uffe Savery
Morten Friis

Safri Duo is a Danish electronic 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 in 2001. The single and subsequent album, Episode II each sold one million units worldwide, making Safri Duo the most internationally successful Danish act since Aqua.


Early years[edit]

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[citation needed], as well as other musicians or people related to the world of classical music.

Mainstream success[edit]

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 (also "Everything" appeared in this CD Single as a B-Side). 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[citation needed] 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.They also played in the concert of Jean Michel Jarre (AERO Concert) on his famous track Rendez vous 4.


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


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
Turn Up the Volume
  • Release date: 1990
  • Label:
  • Formats: CD
Works for Percussion
  • Release date: 1994
  • Label: Chandos
  • Formats: CD
Percussion Transcriptions
  • Release date: 2 February 1995
  • Label: Chandos
  • Formats: CD
Lutoslawski, Bartók, Helweg
  • Release date: 1995
  • Label: Chandos
  • Formats: CD
  • Release date: 18 June 1996
  • Label: Chandos
  • Formats: CD
Bach to the Future
  • Release date: 19 May 1998
  • Label: Chandos
  • Formats: CD
Episode II 21 13 1 7 2 16 9 14 2 49
3.0 2 73
3.5 6
Origins 14
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Compilation albums[edit]


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
2000 "Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song)" 7 2 1 5 2 3 8 1 6 Episode II
2001 "Samb-Adagio" 35 10 9 15 14 23 24 28
"Baya Baya" 56 74 66 52
2002 "Sweet Freedom" (featuring Michael McDonald) 50 50 29 23 52 54
2003 "Fallin' High" 1 65 91 44 Safri Duo 3.0. / Safri Duo 3.5. - International Version
"All the People in the World" (featuring Clark Anderson) 19
2004 "Rise (Leave Me Alone)" (featuring Clark Anderson)
"Knock on Wood" (featuring Clark Anderson)
2008 "Twilight" Origins
2010 "Helele" (with Velile) 8 2 1 Greatest Hits
"Mad World" (with Michael Parsberg featuring Isam B) 4
2013 "Dimitto (Let Go)" (with Kato featuring Bjørnskov) 1
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


  1. ^ [1] It's a Trap! - Scandinavian Music Journal
  2. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Safri Duo)" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 2011-06-09. 
  3. ^ a b "AWARDS 2001". IFPI (Switzerland). Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  4. ^ Austrian peaks
  5. ^ Flanders peaks
  6. ^ Danish peaks
  7. ^ Finnish peaks
  8. ^ German peaks
  9. ^ Dutch peaks
  10. ^ Swedish peaks
  11. ^ Swiss peaks
  12. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  13. ^ a b c d "SAFRI DUO: ORIGINS" (in Danish). October 2008. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  14. ^ a b German certification
  15. ^ Search for Norwegian certifications
  16. ^

External links[edit]