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Baaba Maal

Baaba Maal

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Baaba Maal is a Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

ese singer and guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

ist born in Podor
Podor
Podor is the northernmost town in Senegal, Africa, lying on Morfil Island between the Sénégal River and Doué River. It is home to a ruined French fort, built in 1854 as a centre for gold trading, and is the birthplace of fashion designer Oumou Sy, and musicians Baaba Maal and Mansour Seck....

, on the Senegal River
Sénégal River
The Sénégal River is a long river in West Africa that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania.The Sénégal's headwaters are the Semefé and Bafing rivers which both originate in Guinea; they form a small part of the Guinean-Malian border before coming together at Bafoulabé in Mali...

. In addition to acoustic guitar
Acoustic guitar
An acoustic guitar is a guitar that uses only an acoustic sound board. The air in this cavity resonates with the vibrational modes of the string and at low frequencies, which depend on the size of the box, the chamber acts like a Helmholtz resonator, increasing or decreasing the volume of the sound...

, he also plays percussion. He has released several albums, both for independent and major labels. In July 2003, he was made a UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP operates in 177 countries, working with nations on their own solutions to...

 Youth Emissary.

Biography


Born 12 November 1953. Since his father was a fisherman
Fisherman
A fisherman or fisher is someone who captures fish and other animals from a body of water, or gathers shellfish. Worldwide, there are about 38 million commercial and subsistence fishermen and fish farmers. The term can also be applied to recreational fishermen and may be used to describe both men...

, Baaba Maal was expected to become a fisherman as well. However, under the influence of his life long friend Mansour Seck
Mansour Seck
Mansour Seck is a blind Senegalese singer and musician born in Podor, in the north of the country. Best known for his collaboration with life-long friend Baaba Maal, he has also toured and released several solo albums.-Biography:...

, Baaba Maal devoted himself to learning music from his mother and his school's headmaster. He went on to study music at the university in Dakar
Dakar
Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

 before leaving for postgraduate studies on a scholarship
Scholarship
A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further education. Scholarships are awarded on various criteria usually reflecting the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.-Types:...

 at Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts refers to a number of influential art schools in France. The most famous is the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, now located on the left bank in Paris, across the Seine from the Louvre, in the 6th arrondissement. The school has a history spanning more than 350 years,...

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. He has become quite famous in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and is also the most internationally famous musician from Senegal, with the possible exception of Youssou N'Dour
Youssou N'Dour
Youssou N'Dour is a Senegalese singer, percussionist and occasional actor. In 2004, Rolling Stone described him as, in Senegal and much of Africa, "perhaps the most famous singer alive." He helped develop a style of popular music in Senegal, known in the Serer language as mbalax, a type of music...

.

Baaba sings primarily in Pulaar and is the foremost promoter of the traditions of the Pulaar
Fula language
The Fula or Fulani language is a language of West Africa. It is spoken as a first language by the and related groups from Senegambia and Guinea to Cameroon and Sudan...

-speaking peoples who live on either side of the Senegal River in the ancient Senegalese kingdom of Futa Tooro
Futa Tooro
Futa Tooro refers to the region on the Senegal River in what is now northern Senegal and southern Mauritania.The word Fuuta was a general name the Fulbe gave to any area they lived in, while Tooro was the actual identity of the region for its inhabitants. The people of the kingdom spoke Pulaar, a...

.

In 1998, Maal recorded "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" for the Red Hot Organization
Red Hot Organization
Red Hot Organization is a not-for-profit, 501 3, international organization dedicated to fighting AIDS through pop culture.Since its inception in 1989, over 400 artists, producers and directors have contributed to over 15 compilation albums, related television programs and media events to raise...

’s compilation album Red Hot + Rhapsody a tribute to George Gershwin
George Gershwin
George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known...

 which raised money for various charities devoted to increasing AIDS awareness and fighting the disease.In 2002, Maal again worked with the Red Hot Organization and appeared on a track titled "No Agreement" along side Res, Tony Allen
Tony Allen (musician)
Tony Oladipo Allen is aNigerian drummer, composer, and songwriter who currently lives and works in Paris. He is currently writing his autobiography "Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat" with author/musician Michael E...

, Ray Lema
Ray Lema
Raymond Lema A'nsi Nzinga, known as Ray Lema, is a Congolese musician born March 30, 1946 in Lufu-Toto, Bas-Congo Province.Lema is a pianist, guitarist, and songwriter. He worked for the National Ballet of Zaire, as it was then called, and in 1979 was invited to the United States by the...

, Positive Black Soul
Positive Black Soul
Positive Black Soul is a hip hop group based in Dakar, Senegal, one of the first such collectives in the country. Founded in 1989, the group is composed of Didier Sourou Awadi and Amadou Barry , both of whom had previously been in other hip hop groups...

 and Archie Shepp
Archie Shepp
Archie Shepp is a prominent African-American jazz saxophonist. Shepp is best known for his passionately Afrocentric music of the late 1960s, which focused on highlighting the injustices faced by the African-Americans, as well as for his work with the New York Contemporary Five, Horace Parlan, and...

 for the tribute album to Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti
Fela Anikulapo Kuti , or simply Fela , was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick.-Biography:...

, Red Hot + Riot.

On 7 July 2007 Maal performed at the South African leg
Live Earth concert, Johannesburg
The Live Earth concert in South Africa was held at the Coca-Cola Dome, South Africa on 7 July 2007.-Running order:*South African Drum Cafe Team - unknown title...

 of Live Earth
Live Earth
-Background:Founded by Emmy-winning producer Kevin Wall, in partnership with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Live Earth was built upon the belief that entertainment has the power to transcend social and cultural barriers to move the world community to action...

.

Baaba Maal's album On The Road, a live acoustic album recorded straight from the mixing boards of his shows over the last ten years, was released on August 10, 2008. A new studio album, Television, was released on June 1, 2009.

Music


After returning from study in Paris, Baaba studied traditional music with his blind guitarist and family griot
Griot
A griot or jeli is a West African storyteller. The griot delivers history as a poet, praise singer, and wandering musician. The griot is a repository of oral tradition. As such, they are sometimes also called bards...

, Mansour Seck
Mansour Seck
Mansour Seck is a blind Senegalese singer and musician born in Podor, in the north of the country. Best known for his collaboration with life-long friend Baaba Maal, he has also toured and released several solo albums.-Biography:...

, and began performing with the band Daande Lenol. Maal's fusions continued into the next decade with his Firin' in Fouta
Firin' in Fouta
Firin' in Fouta is an album by Senegalese singer Baaba Maal. It was released in 1994, and is his fourth release on Mango Records, including one with Mansour Seck...

(1994) album, which used ragga
Ragga
-Origins:Ragga originated in Jamaica during the 1980s, at the same time that electronic dance music's popularity was increasing globally. One of the reasons for ragga's swift propagation is that it is generally easier and less expensive to produce than reggae performed on traditional musical...

, salsa
Salsa music
Salsa music is a genre of music, generally defined as a modern style of playing Cuban Son, Son Montuno, and Guaracha with touches from other genres of music...

 and Breton harp music to create a popular sound that launched the careers of Positive Black Soul
Positive Black Soul
Positive Black Soul is a hip hop group based in Dakar, Senegal, one of the first such collectives in the country. Founded in 1989, the group is composed of Didier Sourou Awadi and Amadou Barry , both of whom had previously been in other hip hop groups...

, a group of rappers, and also led to the formation of the Afro-Celt Sound System. His fusion tendencies continued on 1998's Nomad Soul, which featured Brian Eno
Brian Eno
Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno , commonly known as Brian Eno or simply as Eno , is an English musician, composer, record producer, singer and visual artist, known as one of the principal innovators of ambient music.Eno studied at Colchester Institute art school in Essex,...

 as one of seven producers
Record producer
A record producer is an individual working within the music industry, whose job is to oversee and manage the recording of an artist's music...

. In addition to his various solo releases, he was featured on two tracks - "Bushes" and "Dunya Salam" - on the concept album 1 Giant Leap
1 Giant Leap
1 Giant Leap is a concept band and media project consisting of the two principal artists, Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman.-Information:...

.

He also featured on two tracks "Hunger" and "Still" on the Black Hawk Down soundtrack and performed on the title track of the 2008 video game Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2 is an open world first-person shooter developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released on October 21, 2008 in North America and on October 23, 2008 in Europe and Australia. It was made available on Steam on October 22, 2008...

. He will be playing at Bonnaroo and the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in 2010.

He has recently featured on a track on the new Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly album entitled
All of This Yours.

Baaba Maal sang the track for Kerala Tourism's 2010 ad campaign 'Your moment is waiting' with music composed by One Giant Leap.

Discography

  • 1989 – Djam Leelii
    Djam Leelii
    Djam Leelii is the first widely known release by Baaba Maal and guitarist Mansour Seck. Several of the tracks have been released on Baaba Maal's later albums.-Track listing:All tracks by Baaba Maal# "Lam Tooro" – 6:40# "Loodo" – 6:11...

    (with Mansour Seck
    Mansour Seck
    Mansour Seck is a blind Senegalese singer and musician born in Podor, in the north of the country. Best known for his collaboration with life-long friend Baaba Maal, he has also toured and released several solo albums.-Biography:...

    ) – Mango Records
  • 1991 – Baayo (with Mansour Seck) – Mango
  • 1992 – Lam Toro – Mango
  • 1994 – Wango – Syllart
  • 1994 – Firin' in Fouta
    Firin' in Fouta
    Firin' in Fouta is an album by Senegalese singer Baaba Maal. It was released in 1994, and is his fourth release on Mango Records, including one with Mansour Seck...

    – Mango
  • 1995 – Gorel – 4th & Broadway
  • 1997 – Taara – Melodie
  • 1998 – Nomad Soul – Import
  • 1998 – Djam Leelii: The Adventurers – Yoff Productions
  • 1999 – Live at the Royal Festival HallPalm Pictures
    Palm Pictures
    Palm Pictures is a US-based entertainment company owned and run by Chris Blackwell. Palm Pictures produces, acquires and distributes innovative music and film projects with a particular focus on the DVD format...

     – Palm (DVD)
  • 2000 – Jombaajo – Sonodisc
  • 2001 – Missing You (Mi Yeewnii) – Palm
  • 2003 – The Best of the Early Years – Wrasse (compilation)
  • 2005 – Palm World Voices: Baaba Maal – Palm (compilation)
  • 2008 – On The Road – Palm (compilation)
  • 2009 – Television – Palm

External links