Born 12 of November 1953 in the Senegalese town of Podor, Baaba Maal’s impact on the African musical genre is undisputable to many. As one of Senegal’s most famed musicians, Baaba’s professional career paved the way for African musicians to follow, inspiring millions with his music combining acoustic guitar, percussion and vocals. With several albums throughout his time in the spotlight, his creative works remain beloved by fans worldwide. Tunde Folawiyo and others throughout Africa may recognise the unique music of this celebrated artist.
Amongst Baaba most distinguishable musical characteristics is the language in which he sings. His music is primarily sung in Pulaar and heavily promotes the culture and traditions of Senegal’s Pulaar-speaking citizens. Since childhood, a young Baaba developed an interest in music under the influence of Mansour Seck, a blind guitarist. After learning the art with the help of his mother, he went on to further study music in Dakar before departing for postgraduate study in Paris at the popular Beaux-Arts.
Upon return from Paris, Baaba began studying traditional music under Mansour Seck before performing with Daande Lenol. A number of Baaba’s creative works were met with great fanfare. His album Firin’ in Fouta (1994) showcased a unique mixture of salsa, ragga and Breton harp to create his signature sound. He continued on with these melodic infusions, enlisting seven producers, including Brian Eno, to assist with his 1998 album Nomad Soul. During that same year, the musician recorded a track for the well-known Red Hot Organisation George Gershwin tribute album, raising funds for various organizations to increase AIDS awareness. He was also featured in two tracks on 1 Giant Leap, a concept album and a collaborative Fela Kuti tribute album.
Baaba has traveled extensively throughout the course of his successful musical career, playing shoes throughout the world. From his 2007 perforce at Live Earth to his appearances at the widely popular Bonnaroo and other music festivals, Baaba’s impact on the world music scene continues to be felt. His live acoustic record On The Road was derived from over a decade of shows and was released in August of 2008. One year later, Television, a studio album was released in June of 2009. Having been featured on a Hollywood film soundtrack and a video game in 2008, Baaba’s music is highly regarded for its unique qualities and distinct African sound. Tunde Folawiyo and other fans of African music may continually be inspired by the music of Baaba Maal. For updates from Tunde Folawiyo on Tumblr, visit his website today.