For the first time in two years Senegalese master musician Baaba Maal will bring his unique blend of traditional West African song, Senegalese pop, reggae and dance to the U.S. In 2004 Maal toured with his acoustic ensemble, but this year he will perform with Daande Lenol, his full 13 piece electric band featuring blind griot Mansour Seck, who have not performed in the U.S. since 2002. The tour kicks off in Denver on June 13 and culminates in New York on July 2nd.
At the Jammy awards at Madison Square Garden in April 2006, Baaba was the first recipient of the Jammy World Music award, presented by Global Rhythm magazine.
Palm World Voices
As part of its ongoing Palm World Voices series, in 2005 Palm Pictures released Palm World Voices: Baaba Maal. This deluxe CD, DVD, book and map set provides an intimate, engaging and comprehensive portrait of Baaba’s life, music and diplomatic work at home and abroad, the centerpiece of which is a 40 minute video documentary shot in Senegal and Mauritania.
About Baaba Maal
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 Programme 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.
Baaba comes from humble beginnings but now speaks and sings internationally of empowerment, enlightenment, and peace. He was born in Podor, a town of 6,000 on the banks of the river Senegal that separates the country of the same name from Mauritania. He was a fisherman and was not born into the griot caste of singers, storytellers and oral historians.
Maal went to school in St. Louis, the original French colonial capital and following an art scholarship, went on to Senegal's modern capital, Dakar. There he spent his time with Asly Fouta (a group of 70 musicians), learning as much as he could about the local musical instruments and arrangements. On leaving college he toured West Africa with longtime friend, guitarist and griot Mansour Seck, soaking up more knowledge. 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).
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