Brazil, American football for the US, cricket for India, or rugby for South Africa. have an enduring proclivity for obsession. Whether it is sport, politics, music, or religion, Senegalese put their whole in whatever they get involved in. It makes it a somewhat knotty task to pinpoint a particular domineering passion for the people here, like you would soccer for
But music is certainly not a diminutive part of daily life here. Every aspect of Senegalese life touches on it. In fact, one of the most fascinating thing you can find in wrestling, for instance, which appears to be doing well here, despite seemingly losing grounds in many other countries in the region, is the dancing part, where the competitor wrestler is escorted into the ring by his dancing bouncers - that part of it could get you mesmerizingly engrossed; it is really captivating. Such is the musical life of Senegalese.
And they have a lot to show for it.
For a country with a great respect for family cast system, dancing has evolved from being a cast base attribute to everyone’s domain. According to a renowned sociologist, as part of his doctoral thesis, recently at the University Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis in northern , ‘‘successes in music in Senegal have led to decastification of music.’’
‘‘52% of artists are singers from castes deemed noble, while 22% are actual griots, (traditionally regarded as poets, praise singers, and wandering musicians, considered a repository of oral tradition)’’ Dr Saliou Ndour stated.
Youssou Ndour, , Ismaila Lo, Coumba Gawlo, among a host of a remarkably acclaimed line up of artists, represent Senegal’s finest.
Both Baaba Maal and Youssou Ndour have been in music for over two decades now. The duo constitutes a formidable artistic ambassadorial core, not only for their artistic ability in terms of the trade, but also the ability to have kept their role as the Senegalese they are while at the same time creating a niche for themselves at the global level.
Frederic Tendeng, a local journalist, blogger and well known political analyst, is familiar with the music scene in both Senegal and Gambia, where Youssou Ndour reportedly got part of his musical training under the Super Eagles, which dominated the music scene in the region in the early 70s. Tendeng argues that Youssou Ndour can be credited for the modern version of Mbalx, the most popular kind of Senegalese music, and he said that the man with the unofficial title of ‘King of Mbalax’ has been quick to realize the need to blend traditional instruments with modern ones. ‘‘This is also true for Baaba Maal,’’ he said, and ‘‘it is what gave the two an abiding edge over the multitude of musicians in the country.’’
Many musicians here seem caught up between an unfulfilled urge to transcend traditional style and to make a hybrid of traditional and foreign style. The result is a tragic attenuation in quality of many works, making true musical ambassadors in the region some sort of an endangered species. The problem has to do mainly with mode of approach.
There is also the social responsibility aspect, in which the two musicians have actually led by example.
what Jonny Holiday is for France,’’ the acclaimed Senegalese musician was described recently in an editorial by a leading independent Dakar daily newspaper, xibar.net.
Youssou, as he is fondly referred to by many Senegalese, is not just the BobL'Observateur
Unlike Youssou, Baaba Maal was born to a fishing family, representing that defying cultural line - a fisher man’s son, a musician. But today Maal’s people are surely proud of a son they really have. His annual "Festival les Blues du Fleuve" drives the message straight home.
"I think education is one of the most important gifts that we can send to the next generation, in order to pass to the next generation, because I believe that without education the next generation in Africa will not be able to understand what's going on in the whole world and how to go into it and how to exchange ideas, how to use the modern way of communicating to be part of the world. I think education is really, really a key to develop the mind and to develop the spirit and to be free for a lot of things," he was quoted saying recently, as part of an occasion that brought together a cross section of musicians from across the continent and beyond.