Baaba Maal Portrait

Baaba Maal

Podor, Senegal

Baaba Maal was born in a fisherman family in the north of Senegal, in the city of Podor, along the Senegal river. Today he is one of the main ambassadors of West African music around the world. Baaba studied music in Dakar and then went to live in Paris for ten years. When he came back to Senegal he formed his band Daande Lenol (which means “the people’s voice” ) with blind guitarist Mansour Seck. Baaba’s voice is deeply rooted in the African tradition but is at the same time incredibly modern and original. Baaba has been touring the world with his band for the past three decades and has experimented with different fusions of traditional African music with latin music, pop or blues. Baaba is also known for his personal commitment for peace and social concerns and his ambassadorship at the United Nations for Development.

How we met:

We first met Baaba during the Glastonbury Festival (UK) in 2009 when he joined the PFC band on stage to perform his song Koni. Since then he has shared the stage with PFC band on different occasions, and has also introduced us to many amazing musicians in Senegal and Mali. Eight months after our first encounter, we recorded Baaba Maal in Kirina, Mali, where the PFC Foundation recently built their latest music school. There, an unexpected and personal improvisation by Baaba on Bob Marley’s tune Three Little Birds, became the connecting thread of our version around the world of the song.

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