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Maal, Baaba (Senegal)  
Baaba Maal

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 Griot family (the hereditary caste of artists and communicators). His father worked in the fields but was also given the honour 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 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, one 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.

vocals, percussion
Genre: African
On leaving college he toured West Africa with longtime friend, guitarist and Griot, 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 Conservatoire des Beaux Arts, with ears still wide open. On arriving back in Senegal Baaba formed his band Daande Lenol (Voice of the People).

Baaba Maal is a man with a mission that extends beyond music. He often credits his much loved mother with giving him a broader and more sympathetic view of the world than many contemporaries. Baaba is a citizen of the third world who has carved out a place for himself in the first. Baaba Maal can speak and sing to and for Africa with unprecedented authority.

As Baaba tours the world, as one of its great performers, he does so also as a representative of the United Nations Development Programme speaking out on the issue of HIV/Aids in Africa. Both elements come together when Baaba features in musical projects such as "Red Hot and Gershwin" and the imminent Fela Kuti Tribute "Red Hot and Riot" both put together by the HIV/Aids awareness campaign group, the Red Hot Organisation.

Contact Details:

Visit Baaba Maal's website
  Recordings : Maal, Baaba
46664 - The Concert

46664 - The Concert

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