Artist Profiles: Alioune Kassé

Alioune Kassé

Alioune Kassé was born in Dakar, Senegal. He belongs to the Tukulor ethnic group and is a writer, composer and player.

In 1960 Alioune’s father, Ibra Kassé, formed the Star Band du Dakar with singers Labah Sosseh and Pape Seck. The careers of many Senegalese musicians were launched by the Star Band, including later members of Star Number One (which became Orchestra Number One and Number One de Senegal), Etoile 2000, Orchestra Baobab, and Etoile de Dakar.

Ibra Kassé also founded the legendary Miami Club in Dakar where Alioune first found himself on stage at the age of 16. It was also at a young age that Alioune found himself confronted by a soldier’s rifle as he tried to cross a strike line to go to school. In his music he addresses suffering, racism, and other issues confronting his country, Africa and the world. He writes about self respect, the uselessness of wars, destructiveness of drugs, immigration, and the prophet.

Alioune recognized African music as the mother of all music, and seeks to stay close to his roots while exploring new frontiers. “…What really inspires me is the leumbeul, the dance of the laobe, the lumberers who dance in a circle and who express themselves by moving their buttocks and backs. I would define my music as African waltz.”

Driven by rhythms of jazz, zouk, and reggae, he reaches out to heal with the passion he learned from his father. Alioune likes to mix traditional African music with other musical influences. He combines keyboards, bass, guitar and drums with traditional African percussion such as tama, sabar and bugarubu.

Discography:

Thiabi Bi (PCS, 1994)
Kara Vol. 1 (PCS, 1995)
Waw Coumba (Studio 2000, 1996)
Memorial Ibra Kassé (KSF, 1996)
Exsina ‎(Blue Silver/Tinder Records, 1999)
Diapason (KSF, 1999)
Ma Cherie (2001)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.
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