The Info List - Music Of Senegal

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's music is best known abroad due to the popularity of mbalax , a development of Serer sabar drumming popularized by Youssou N\'Dour .


* 1 National music * 2 Traditional music

* 3 Popular music after independence

* 3.1 1950s and 1960s * 3.2 1970s and 1980s * 3.3 1990s to the present

* 4 References * 5 Sources * 6 External links


During the colonial ages Senegal
was colonized by France
and many, though not all, Senegalese identified as French instead of any African ethnicity. Post-independence, the philosophy of negritude arose, which espoused the idea that the griot traditions of Senegal
were as valid, classical and meaningful as French classical music . The first President of Senegal
, Léopold Sédar Senghor
Léopold Sédar Senghor
(also a poet) was one of the primary exponents of this.

The national anthem of Senegal, "Pincez tous vos koras, frappez les balafons" ("Pluck all your koras , strike the balafons "), was adopted in 1960. Its lyrics, by president Senghor, refer to the Malian music tradition, while its music was composed by Herbert Pepper.


Ethnically the population of Senegal
is 143.3% Wolof , 23.8% Fula , 14.7% Serer , 14.7% Jola , 3% Mandinka and 1.1% Soninka , with 1% European and Lebanese and 9.4% classed as "other" Senegalese music has been influenced by that of the Malian Empire though it tends to be fast and lively whereas the sounds of Malian griots are sedate, classical.

Mbalax (meaning "rhythm" in Wolof),derives its from accompanying rhythms used in sabar music of the Serer people
Serer people
of the Kingdom of Sine and spread to the Kingdom of Saloum whence Wolof migrants brought it to the Wolof kingdoms. The Nder (lead drum), Sabar
(rhythm drum), and Tama (talking drum) percussion section traces some of its technique to the ritual music of Njuup . The Serer people
Serer people
infuse their everyday language with complex overlapping cadences and their ritual with intense collaborative layerings of voice and rhythm."

The Njuup was also the progenitor of Tassu, used when chanting ancient religious verses. The griots of Senegambia still use it at marriages, naming ceremonies or when singing the praises of patrons. Most Senegalese and Gambian artists use it in their songs. Each motif has a purpose and is used for different occasions. Individual motifs may represent the history and genealogy of a particular family and are used during weddings, naming ceremonies, funerals etc.


1950S AND 1960S

Senegalese popular music can be traced back to the 1960s, when nightclubs hosted dance bands (orchestres ) that played Western music. Ibra Kasse 's Star Band was the most famous orchestre. After beginning by playing American, Cuban and French songs, Star Band gradually added more indigenous elements, including the talking tama drum and Wolof- or Mandinka-language lyrics. Star Band disintegrated into numerous groups, with Pape Seck 's Number One du Senegal
being the best known of the next wave of bands, followed by Orchestre Baobab .

The south of Senegal, called Casamance , has a strong Mandinka minority, and began producing masters of the kora in the late 1950s. The band Touré Kunda was the most popular group to arise from this scene, and they soon began playing large concerts across the world.

1970S AND 1980S

In 1977, the entire rhythm section and many other performers in the Star Band left to form Étoile de Dakar , who quickly eclipsed their compatriots, and launched the careers of El Hadji Faye and Youssou N\'Dour . Faye and N'Dour were Senegal's first pop stars, but the stress of fame soon drove the band apart. Faye and guitarist Badou N\'diaye formed Étoile 2000 , releasing a hit with "Boubou N'Gary", but soon disappearing from the pop scene.

N'Dour, however, went on to form Super Étoile de Dakar , and his career continued. He was soon by far the most popular performer in the country, and perhaps in all of West Africa. He introduced more traditional elements to his Senegalized Cuban music, including traditional rapping (tassou ), njuup , bakou music (a kind of trilling that accompanies Serer wrestling ) and instruments like the sabar .

While N'Dour Africanized Cuban music, another influential band, Xalam , was doing the same with American funk and jazz . They formed in 1970, led then by drummer Prosper Niang , but their controversial lyrics and unfamiliar jazz sound led to a lack of popularity, and the group moved to Paris in 1973. There, they added Jean-Philippe Rykiel on keyboards. Xalam toured with groups such as Rolling Stones
Rolling Stones
and Crosby, Stills, Nash this is also the case with her band 'Groupe Sope Noreyni'.

The new century has seen the rise of Viviane Ndour, who got her first break as a backing vocalist to Youssou Ndour with Super Etoile. She is well known in Senegal
and the diaspora, collaborating with French rap star Mokobe and Zouk artist Philip Montiero and incorporating RnB, Hip-Hop and other elements into her own style of Mbalax.

Acoustic folk music has also left its mark on Senegal's music culture. Artists that have contributed to this genre include TAMA from Rufisque, Pape Armand Boye , les Freres Guisse, Pape et Cheikh, and Cheikh Lo.

The biggest trend in 1990s Senegal, however, was hip hop . Traditional culture includes rapping traditions, such as the formal tassou , performed by women of the Laobe woodworking class the morning after marriages. Modern Senegalese hip hop is mostly in Wolof, alongside some English and French. Positive Black Soul is the best-known group in the country, Daara j , Gokh-Bi System and Wageble too. Senegalese-French rapper MC Solaar
MC Solaar
is a very well known musician. Senegalese born Akon
has risen to world fame.

In 2008 English musician Ramon Goose travelled to Dakar and collaborated with Senegalese griot Diabel Cissokho to record the album Mansana Blues which explores African blues ">

* ^ https://USA CIA World Fact Book * ^ Patricia Tang. Masters of the Sabar: Wolof griot percussionists of Senegal, p-p32, 34. Temple University Press, 2007. ISBN 1-59213-420-3 * ^ (in French) Ferloo * ^ Mangin, Timothy R. "Notes on Jazz
in Senegal." Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz
Studies. Eds. O'Meally, Robert G., Brent Hayes Edwards and Farah Jasmine Griffin. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004. 224-49. Print. * ^ For the Njuup tradition, see: The Culture Trip * ^ A B Ali Colleen Neff. Tassou: the Ancient Spoken Word of African Women. 2010.


* Hudson, Mark, Jenny Cathcart and Lucy Duran. "Senegambian Stars Are Here to Stay". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 617–633. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0