Cheikh M’Baye and Sing Sing Rhythm is a drum and dance company of Wolof griots from Medina, Senegal. Founded in 1987, the group is named for their ancestor, Sing Sing Faye, the first master drummer of the Cape Verde peninsula.
They have performed and toured extensively in Africa, Europe, Canada, the Virgin Islands, and the U.S., and have recorded with such luminaries as Peter Gabriel, Youssou N’Dour, Randy Weston, Jack DeJohnette, Angelique Kidjo, and Craig Harris. Their CD, Mame Bouna, is a true representation of the traditional rhythms of the Wolof people of Senegal.
Mame Bouna: Cheikh Taîrou M’baye And Sing Sing Rhythm (Mame Bouna Productions 2003)
Daby Balde’s arrangements are based on his Fula traditions from the south of Senegal. They feature the fiddle, accordion and flute alongside the more familiar West African sounds of the kora, acoustic guitar and percussion. With strikingly rich and beautiful melodies, captivating vocals and a repertoire that ranges from euphoric to melancholic, Daby Balde is a West African star on the rise.
Moutarou ‘Daby’ Balde was born on 26 April 1969 in the city of Kolda, Fouladou (an area of the Cassamance region), in south Senegal. Growing up in the Cassamance region, a lush area famous for its deep roots in ancestral values and customs, Daby attended the Koranic School in Kolda.
Born into a noble family, Daby’s decision to pursue music was greeted with numerous objections and, in 1987 he left school and decided to go into exile. Following six months in Guinea and six years in the Gambia (where he began learning the guitar), he returned to his hometown in 1994 and became the lead vocalist for the Kolda Regional Orchestra.
After performing with them for nine months, he began performing regularly in Dakar and Kolda. Subsequently, he played in a large concert organized by the Belgian NGO Vredensaleiden that led to
performances at Flanders Ethno festival and Draunter festival in Belgium.
He now lives in a suburb of Dakar, performing weekly at several city venues and every few months in Kolda, at festivals, weddings and cultural events.
Musically, Daby is influenced by his various travels and experiences and his Fouladou culture. Ethnically diverse, Cassamance has a rich heritage, is geographically placed between Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, and is cut off from the north of Senegal. From the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, the Portuguese were the only Europeans to have settled and have dealings in the region, and subsequently the music from Cassamance has a particular rhythm (quite different to that of the Dakar sound), which resonates throughout Daby’s music.
Djanbutu Thiossane was the group formed by Ass El Hadj Samba N’Diaye and his brothers, Baye Mass and Pap. They are members of a respected family of Senegalese jali (hereditary musician-storytellers) from the small town of Luga, located close to the Mauritanian border.
Ass, Mass, and Pap have the jembe (a large, single-headed, goblet-shaped drum)in their blood. All three are percussionists, as is their father, Demba. The Ass, Mass & Pap album highlights the jembe as well as the distinct tones of the sabar, drums carved from mahogany and played with one hand and a long, whip-like stick. Fellow Senegalese jali Massaba Samba joins in on the dundun (talking drum), adding greater rhythmic variety. Bekai Jobarteh, a Manding kora player born in Gambia, provides the melody.
The lyrics of Djanbutu Thiossane’s songs are rooted in the praise-singing tradition of the jali. Some of the themes are timeless, such as the admonition for young people to honor their parents (Track 3: “Wadiour”, Track 7: “Nanganama”), while others (Track 2: “Immigrés”) address contemporary social pressures. The N’Diaye brothers take their musical heritage very seriously, and their songs are infused with a reverence for the past as well as a strong contemporary sensibility.
Djanbutu Thiossane’s Mbalax sound, a modern, percussive music that blends Senegalese drumming, Afro-Cuban rhythms, and American pop, is second to none. Ass, Mass, and Pap keep very close to tradition, but when they lay down a dance beat they bring the house down.
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.
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)
Baaba Maal was born in Podor, a town with a population of 6,000, on the banks of the river Senegal that separates the country of the same name from Mauritania. Baaba’s family is Hal Pulaar, known in the English speaking world as Fulani. He is not from a jeli family (the hereditary caste of musicians and oral historians).
Music was an integral part of Baaba Maal’s’s childhood. His father worked in the fields but was also given the honor and responsibility of using songs to call the worshippers to the mosque. Baaba’s mother was a musician who sang and wrote her own songs educating her son in the musical forms of the area and encouraging the young Baaba to value intelligent and thoughtful lyrics.
At the same time Baaba was listening to black music coming out of the United States of America, people like James Brown, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Etta James. Later he caught up with Jamaican musicians such as Toots Hibbert, Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff who Baaba later met on a tour of Senegal in the mid-70’s along with band guitarist of the time, Ernest Ranglin.
Baaba went to school in St. Louis, the original French colonial capital and, on winning an Art scholarship, on to Senegal’s modern capital, Dakar. There he joined Asly Fouta a group of 70 musicians and spent his time with the group learning as much as he could about the local musical instruments and how they work.
After leaving college, he toured West Africa with longtime friend, guitarist and jeli, Mansour Seck, soaking up more knowledge, “it’s traditional for young musicians to do that. When you arrive in every village you do a gig. This makes you friendly with all the young people who are in the village. The next day the young people take you to visit the oldest person who knows about the history of the village and the country and about the history of the music”. From there Baaba lived in Paris for several years, studying at the Fine Arts Conservatary, with ears still wide open. On arriving back in Senegal, Baaba formed his band Daande Lenol (Voice of the People).
On his CD, Missing You….Mi Yeewnii, Baaba Maal focused on the acoustic, poetic side of his heritage. The original recording sessions for “Missing You used a mobile studio based in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal, and took place outdoors after dark which accounts for the clicking of crickets which can heard throughout the album. The recording continued at Real World Studios in Wiltshire and the album was mixed at Abbey Road and Real World.
With a dozen solo and collaborative albums behind him, Baaba Maal is a man with a mission beyond his music. In his role as Youth Emissary for the United Nations’ Development Program, Baaba Maal is committed to the concerns of families, young people and the future of his continent. When he tours the world, his role as a representative of the United Nations’ Development Program is never far away. Both elements come together when Baaba features in musical projects such as the Fela Kuti Tribute Red Hot and Riot, put together by HIV/Aids awareness campaign group The Red Hot Organisation.
In February 2005 Baaba was the special guest speaker for a lecture at the British Museum where he gave his views on Africa, speaking passionately and eloquently of the continent?s strengths and its challenges. On April 1st 2005 he sold out a special performance at the UK’s Royal Festival Hall. He was then invited to headline Glastonbury’s Jazz World Stage on June 25th and also to lead a show of solidarity with the Make Poverty History Campaign with Bob Geldof. On July 2nd Baaba made a speech in support of Make Poverty History in Edinburgh, and addressed the rally in advance of the G8 Summit at Gleneagles.
By now an honorary griot, Baaba says, “It strengthens my determination to work harder to contribute more to improving the living conditions of disadvantaged people of the African continent,
especially young people, whose future is seriously threatened by illiteracy, poverty and HIV/AIDS. When I am talking about Africa, it is about how Africa will grow into the new millennium.”
Passion – Sources (Real World Records, 1989) Djam Leelii, with Mansour Seck (Mango Records, 1989) Baayo, with Mansour Seck (Mango Records, 1991) Lam Toro (Mango Records, 1992) Wango (Syllart, 1994) Firin’ in Fouta (Mango Records, 1994) Gorel (4th & Broadway, 1995) Taara (Melodie, 1997) Nomad Soul (Import, 1998) Djam Leelii: The Adventurers (Yoff Productions, 1998) Jombaajo (Sonodisc, 2000) Missing You – Mi Yeewnii (Palm, 2001) The Best of the Early Years, compilation (Wrasse, 2003) Palm World Voices: Baaba Maal, compilation (Palm, 2005) On The Road (Palm, 2008) Television (Palm, 2009) The Traveller (Palm / Marathon Artists, 2016)
Back in 1990, before the great success of Cesaria Evora, Boy Ge Mendes put the music of Cape Verde on the map with his hit song “Grito de Bo Fidge.”
Born in 1952 as Gerard Mendes, Boy Ge Mendes’ adventure began in Dakar, Senegal. His father was a punch card operator and his mother a seamstress. They were living in Dakar like many Cape Verdeans. In Felix Faure Street, downtown, Gerard Mendes grew up among friends from Mali, Senegal, Guinea and Cape Verde. He developed a taste for singing in his Catholic school choir, and at parties and fairs. Later, Mendes started to perform at seedy piano bars like the Marseille, the Black & White and the Alhabama. In those days he sang cover songs by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, rhythm and blues and salsa, in French and phonetically in English or Spanish.
In 1967 Mendes put together his first group, the Beryls, with one of his brothers. This marked the start of a hectic life of concerts and festivals throughout Senegal. Mendes began to build a very good reputation. At the end of the 60s he left for France where he joined another one of his brothers. It was a false start. Two years later, he was happy to return to his favorite hangouts in Dakar. But the return was temporary. In 1976 he set off again for France. The following year his brother Jean-Claude, Luis Silva and Emmanuel Lima asked him to join them in forming an exclusively Cape Verdean group. Created in Joinville in the Paris region, the Cabo Verde Show became the star group of the expatriate communities in Paris and Holland where they played regularly.
For Gerard Mendes this was a crucial period. Suddenly an irresistible urge began to grow in him. Until then his native music had not been a priority but he now felt the need to compose and write as a Cape Verdean. He contributed three original songs to the group’s second album and they proved popular with the community. This success encouraged him to go further. Leaving the Cabo Verde Show, he and his brother launched a new project: Mendes and Mendes. Three albums later he put Paris behind him. Ten years in the gray north was enough. Missing the sea and sun, he moved to Nice in 1983.
Mendes formed a new group called O’asah, the name of a legendary bird. With O’asah he recorded an album and played as opening act at Joao Bosco’s concerts in France. In 1990 Mendes recorded the hit song “Grito de Bo Fidge. He became Boy Ge Mendes, which is an allusion to his childhood nickname. After touring France and the United States Boy Ge Mendes decided to take a break. He traveled with his guitar to Brazil, the United States, Senegal and Cape Verde. In 1996, at the Baia des Galas festival, in Sao Vicente, the native island of his mother and girlfriend, he met up with Emmanuel Lima, who had now made his mark as Manu Lima, a key arranger and composer of African music. It was a fresh start. Boy Ge recorded the album “Di 0ro” with Manu, then chased off after yet another dream.
It’s no surprise that ‘Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng’, the new album by Senegalese band Orchestra Baobab is one of the highest rated recording in the past weeks by the two leading world music charts: the Transglobal World Music Chart and the World Music Charts Europe.
‘Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng’ brings back the captivating mix of traditional Cuban and Senegalese dance music along with some innovations. For the first time, Orchestra Baobab has added a permanent kora (West African harp) player, augmenting even more the Senegalese flavor of the band.
The title of the album makes reference to Ndiouga Dieng, the longtime vocalist for Orchestra Baobab, who passed away in November 2016.
The lineup features Balla Sidibe on vocals and timbales; Rudy Gomis on vocals; Issa Sissoko on tenor saxophone; Thierno Koite on tenor and alto saxophone; Charlie Ndiaye on bass; Mountaga Koite on congas; Abdouleye Cissoko on kora; Oumar Sow on guitar; Yahya Fall on rhythm guitar; and Beninese musicians Wilfried Zinzou on trombone and rising guitarist Rene Sowatche.
Two special guests participated in the recording sessions, world music star Cheikh Lo who appears in the song ‘Magno Kouto’ and former Baobab vocalist Thione Seck, who recreates the hit ‘Sey’.
The physical version of the album comes in a very nicely-packaged format, as a hard cover book with song descriptions, photos and illustrations.
On Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng, the extraordinary Orchestra Baobab treats the listener to a beautiful set of passionate songs and infectious Afro-Cuban and Senegalese beats.
‘Tribute To Ndiouga Dieng’, the new album by the iconic Senegalese band Orchestra Baobab has reached the top of the Transglobal World Music Chart. The current lineup features veterans as well as newcomers, including a kora player for the first time, Abdouleye Cissoko.
The band will be on tour in europe this month:
05 May – Het Depot, Leuven, BEL
06 May – Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL
07 May – Lantaren Venster, Rotterdam, NL
11 May – Fabrik, Hamburg, DE
12 May – Gretchen, Berlin, DE
13 May – Jazz Cafe, London, UK
14 May – Jazz Cafe, London, UK
16 May – Cabaret Sauvage, Paris, FR
17 May – Festival Jazzelrault, Chattelerault, FR
19 May – Cosmopolite, Oslo, NOR
The Tambours Croisés project celebrates the drumming traditions of France’s overseas territories. For this second volume of the project, the producers also invited musicians from two former French colonies, Haiti and Senegal.
The majority of the pieces have a similar format, featuring vocals or chants and drumming. There is a mix of traditional songs and original works by the participants as well as a final jam.
The album is part of a larger project that included tours, workshops, and a photo exhibition
The artistic director, Thierry Nossin brought together a larger cast for this second volume. Ideally, he wanted a vocalist and a drummer from every country or territory. The artists featured include griot singer Coumba Arame Mbaye and master drummer Alioune Seck from Senegal; the Martinique representatives are Nenetto (René Capitaine) and Beatrice Alcindor on vocals and Claude Jean-Joseph on drums.
Drummer Joël Jean and vocalist Marie-Line Dahomay hail from Guadeloupe. The artists from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean are Eno Zangoun on vocals and Zelito Deliron drums.
Guyana is represented by singer Yannick Théolade. Diho provides the singing tradition of Mayotte. Lastly, two artist arrived from Haiti, vocalist Guerline Pierre and drummer Jackson Saintil.
Ousseynou Kouyate was a member of the National Ballet of Senegal for seven years before moving to Berkeley with his twin brother Assane and starting their colorful music/dance band Djialy Kunda Kouyate (now known as Sekhou Senegal), using such indigenous instruments as the kora and balafon.
Kouyate is a descendant of griots who carries on age-old traditions. He has performed in various world music collaborations at Ashkenaz music club with such musicians as fellow African star Solo Cissokho and Cajun/zydeco fiddler Tom Rigney.
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion