Born in 1973 in Dakar, PAPE CHEIKH DIOUF is from a guewel (griot) family originally of the Siné-Saloum Delta region in southwestern Senegal. As a youth, he was sent to his uncle’s house to learn the plumbing trade. But his passion was music, which he pursued in his spare time and ultimately decided was his path to follow.Along with his enormous talent, Pape Diouf is known and admired for representing certain human and social values that are central to Senegalese culture. His themes, expressed in the Wolof language, are about love and life’s lessons, and especially about “teranga” – mutual respect, acceptance and hospitality as a way of life. His lyrics speak directly to the hearts of Senegalese everywhere, many of whom live abroad and are nostalgic for their homeland. His captivating sound and charismatic performance have inspired references to “the new Youssou Ndour.” Now that Ndour is Minister of Tourism and no longer performs, Pape Diouf is seen as the likely successor to the master of mbalax. Even in his movements and vocal style, Pape emulates his idol, who in turn has called him “the future of Senegalese music.” In 1995, at the age of 22, he joined the Lemzo Diamono Group, where his talent became widely recognized with three major hit recordings: “Darou Rahmane” (Talla Diagne, 1996), “En Live Diapason” (KSF, 1997) and “Co Co Rico” (unknown, 1998). After going solo in 1998, several frustrating years passed before his first album, Live au Biddew (Tribu/Lampe Fall, 2003), and a U.S. tour. It was then that Pape met Mamadou “Jimi” Mbaye, lead guitarist of Youssou Ndour’s band Super Étoile de Dakar, who helped him record and produce Partir! (Jololi, 2004) – opening the door to a promising career. That album brought widespread acclaim for the title track, “Partir” – a brilliantly-conceived mbalax take on Andrea Bocelli’s blockbuster hit, “Con te Partirò”.
It was also the launch of Pape Diouf et la Génération Consciente, his band which has now been together for more than 10 years. International tours and pressure from his fans led to the 2008 album, Jotna, released on the Prince Arts label (formerly Jololi, still under the guidance of Youssou Ndour). The gates were thrown open and Pape Diouf was now an idol in his own right. His 2011 album, Casse Casse (Prince Arts), was released with a massive hit, “Bégué,” which took him over the top. In July 2012, Pape succeeded in filling the Grand Théâtre de Dakar, proving to all of Senegal his place as contender to the title, “King of Mbalax.” Less than one year later, in March 2013, he sold out the world-famous Zénith Theatre de Paris. Pape Diouf released his highly-anticipated new album, Ràkkaaju, in October, 2014.
Born in Senegal to a Gewel griot family, singer and percussionist SIDY SAMB is the son of Daro Mbaye, one of the first women singers in the popular mbalax genre and from whom he learned the foundations of technique and composition. On a visit to Seville, Spain for the 1992 World Expo, he discovered a passion for flamenco music and decided to make his home there. He quickly found his way into the music scene and became a founding member of Mártires del Compás (Martyrs of the Compass), a seminal “nuevo flamenco” band, that same year.Read More
Bidew Bou Bess
BIDEEW BOU BESS (“New Star” in the Wolof language) is a performing group of three brothers: Moctar, Baïdy and Ibrahima Sall. The trio is recognized throughout Senegal for their innovative mix of musical genres and languages, as well as for their attention and commitment to important social issues at home and abroad. Natives of Podor, the brothers relocated to Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, where as young hip-hoppers they began performing in 1994. After winning a contest organized by the Ministry of Education in 1996, they caught the attention of Senegalese cultural icon Youssou Ndour.Read More
MAIMOUNATA (“Maï”) LINGANI is one of the most popular singers and songwriters of Burkina Faso, West Africa. She currently divides her time between New York City and Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Maï was born in Koudougou, Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), grew up in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and started singing professionally during her late teens. In the mid-1990s, she won several prizes with bands playing styles ranging from reggae to the traditional musics of various Ivoirian ethnicities, and toured nationally. In 1996, she met the musicians Lukas Ligeti (of Austria, now residing in the U.S.) and Kurt Dahlke (of Germany)and participated in the recording of their group Beta Foly’s critically acclaimed CD, her first international release (“Lukas Ligeti & Beta Foly”, Intuition Records, Germany, 1997).Read More
Ndongo Bahoum Diop was born in Ziguinchor, which is the richest cultural city in Senegal, in July 1964. His nickname is Lucky. He belong to the Diola (jola) tribe, one the rare tribes where everybody is a musician! His father’s position in the justice department gave him the great opportunity to learn about the dynamic music of the Toucouleur and the Wolof tribe at his early age. At the age of 10, Lucky was already performing for his classmates. In high school, he was among the first students to join the music band which won several competitions nationwide. During his last two years in high school, he collaborated with Solo Cissokho, a prominent kora player in Senegal. Lucky spiced up his compositions with sabar, bougarabou, seyrouba and djembe rhythms. As Solo’s repertoire became more diverse, they both gained more fans.Read More