Senegal’s Visionary Pioneer of Salsa and Mbalax

Mar Seck - Vagabonde - From Super Cap-Vert to Number One: Unreleased Recordings 1969-1980
Mar Seck – Vagabonde – From Super Cap-Vert to Number One: Unreleased Recordings 1969-1980
Mar Seck

Vagabonde – From Super Cap-Vert to Number One: Unreleased Recordings 1969-1980 (Teranga Beat, 2013)

During the 1970s, Cuban music was extremely was extremely popular in West Africa and Congo. Pioneering musicians from Zaire, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and other countries took Cuban music and traditional West African music to create exciting new styles. Now you can discover one of the great innovators of that era, Senegalese singer-songwriter Mar Seck.

Teranga Beat has an unearthed a superb collection of previously-unreleased recordings from Mar Seck, titled Vagabonde – From Super Cap-Vert to Number One: Unreleased Recordings 1969-1980.

Mar Seck’s musical cross-pollination gave way to salsa-mbalax, the prevalent Senegalese dance music of the 1970s. With his irresistible rhythms and vocals in Wolof and Spanish, Seck influenced numerous generations that we are all familiar with, including a young Youssou N’Dour.

The album includes 12 tracks recorded over three different sessions, with various lineups. Vagabonde concentrates on the best of Mar Seck’s career. The first recordings are taken from a raw and unreleased 1969 session at the Dakar National Radio. These songs were recorded with his first group Super Cap-Vert from Rufisque. At the time, Mar was 18-years old and performed his now popular song “Vagabonde.” The lineup included Jean Diallo on saxophone and musical direction, Mar Seck on vocals, Ass Thioune on timbales, vocals; Boubou Seck on tumba; Lamine Niang on guitar; and Gnox on bass.

Tracks 8-10 are from a 1973 live recording made with the Star Band de Dakar in Saint Louis. This is from the period when Mar was performing at the legendary Miami Club in Dakar. The band included Pape Seck on vocals, saxophone, flute; Mar Seck on vocals; Pape Djiby Ba on vocals; Mamane Fall on tama; Mansour M’boup on guitar; Moustapha N’Diaye on bass; Linx Tall on tumba; Badou Diallo on timbales; and Malick Hann on chorus.

The last two tracks feature the most complete band of Senegal, the Number One de Dakar: Pape Seck on vocals, tenor saxophone; Mar Seck on vocals; Doudou Sow on vocals; Maguette N’Diaye on vocals; Malick Hann on vocals; Yakhya Fall on solo guitar; Babacar Fall on rhythm guitar; Moustapha N’Diaye on bass; Alioune Diallo on drums, timbales; Amadou Madani Tall on tumba; Mamane Fall on tama; Aly Penda N’Doye on trumpet; and Pape Demba Diop on alto saxophone.

I’ve been composing and writing songs since I was very young,” says Mar Seck in an interview included in the liner notes. “I never lacked inspiration and productive spirit. All the people you see now playing the salsa, they used to sing my songs. When I was young, everyone here loved Cuban music. I was not such a big fan myself. I preferred mostly Hi-Life, Congolese and Guinean music. My favorite was Congolese music, which I listened to a lot, trying to understand how they played the Rumba. Angelina for example, is a track that can be considered to be almost Congolese, that’s how much I was influenced by this music.”

The CD booklet includes photos and liner notes summarizing Mar’s career.

Buy Vagabonde – From Super Cap-Vert to Number One: Unreleased Recordings 1969-1980 in North America

Buy Vagabonde – From Super Cap-Vert to Number One: Unreleased Recordings 1969-1980 in Europe

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