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The singular Senegalese singer-guitarist-percussionist Baaba Maal “has a gift, nearly unparalleled in all of popular music, for creating at once soaring and vulnerable melodies.” (NPR) Maal has become one of Africa’s greatest musical exports by fusing a range of styles into something completely original.
Born in Podor on the Senegal River, Baaba Maal sings mainly in the Pulaar language and is the foremost promoter of the traditions of the Pulaar-speaking people, who live in the ancient Senegalese kingdom of Futa Tooro. He studied traditional music with the blind Senegalese guitarist Mansour Seck, a griot also from Podor, and went on to form the group Daande Lenol, with whom he released a number of albums. His storied career has been defined by innovation and experimentation; he has incorporated everything from ragga to salsa to Breton harp music into what has always been a signature sound, at the center of which is his stunning voice. His 2016 record The Traveler (Palm / Marathon Artists) continues down this restless path.
Lakou Mizik a rousing collective of Haitian musicians formed after the devastating 2010 earthquake, offers “a joyous antidote to Haiti’s hard times.” (The Guardian) The group includes elder legends and rising young talents, united in a mission to honor the healing spirit of their collective culture.