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Maal in 2011
November 12, 1953|
Podor, French West Africa
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, composer|
|Labels||Mango, Palm, Marathon Artists|
Baaba Maal (born 12 November 1953) is a Senegalese singer and guitarist born in Podor, on the Senegal River. He is well known in Africa and internationally and is one of Senegal's most famous musicians. In addition to acoustic guitar, he also plays percussion. He has released several albums, both for independent and major labels. In July 2003, he was made a UNDP Youth Emissary.
Maal sings primarily in Pulaar and is the foremost promoter of the traditions of the Pulaar-speaking people, who live on either side of the Senegal River in the ancient Senegalese kingdom of Futa Tooro.
Early life and education
Maal was expected to follow in his father's profession and become a fisherman. However, under the influence of his lifelong friend and family gawlo, blind guitarist Mansour Seck, Maal devoted himself to learning music from his mother and his school's headmaster. He went on to study music at the university in Dakar before leaving for postgraduate studies on a scholarship at Beaux-Arts in Paris.
After returning from study in Paris, Maal studied traditional music with Mansour Seck and began performing with the band Daande Lenol. Maal's fusions continued into the next decade with his Firin' in Fouta (1994) album, which used ragga, salsa and Breton harp music to create a popular sound that launched the careers of Positive Black Soul, a group of rappers, and also led to the formation of Afro Celt Sound System. His fusion tendencies continued on 1998's Nomad Soul, which featured Brian Eno as one of seven producers. In addition to his various solo releases, he contributed to two tracks, "Bushes" and "Dunya Salam", on the concept album 1 Giant Leap.
In 1998, Maal recorded "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" for the Red Hot Organization's compilation album Red Hot + Rhapsody: The Gershwin Groove, a tribute to George Gershwin which raised money for various charities devoted to increasing HIV/AIDS awareness and fighting the disease. In 2002, Maal again worked with the Red Hot Organization, recording "No Agreement" alongside Res, Tony Allen, Ray Lema, Positive Black Soul and Archie Shepp for the tribute album to Fela Kuti, Red Hot + Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti.
On 7 July 2007, Maal performed at the Live Earth concert, Johannesburg.
Maal's album On the Road, a live acoustic album recorded straight from the mixing boards of his shows over a ten-year period, was released in 2008. A new studio album, Television, was released in 2009.
He appears on two tracks "Hunger" and "Still" on the Black Hawk Down film soundtrack and performed on the title track of the 2008 video game Far Cry 2, in addition to helping to create the whole soundtrack for that game. He played at Bonnaroo and the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in 2010.
He appears on a track on the Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly album All of This Yours.
Maal sang the track for Kerala Tourism's 2010 ad campaign "Your moment is waiting" with music composed by One Giant Leap.
Maal's 11th studio album, The Traveller, recorded with Johan Hugo from The Very Best and Winston Marshall (Mumford & Sons), was released via Palm and Marathon Artists. The lead singles, "Fulani Rock" and "Gilli Men", received critical acclaim. The Traveller was released in January 2016, and was accompanied by a UK tour and headlining Senegal's Festival Blues Du Fleuve. Maal accompanied Mumford & Sons on their Gentlemen of the Road tour around South Africa in 2015. He also released a song and accompanying live performance music video with Mumford & Sons called "There Will Be Time".
He voiced the Wakandan soundtrack of Black Panther for Ludwig Göransson.
- 1989 – Passion – Sources (compilation) - Real World Records
- 1989 – Djam Leelii (with Mansour Seck) – Mango Records
- 1991 – Baayo (with Mansour Seck) – Mango
- 1992 – Lam Toro – Mango
- 1994 – Wango – Syllart
- 1994 – Firin' in Fouta – Mango
- 1995 – Gorel – 4th & Broadway
- 1997 – Taara – Melodie
- 1998 – Nomad Soul – Import
- 1998 – Djam Leelii: The Adventurers – Yoff Productions
- 2000 – Jombaajo – Sonodisc
- 2001 – Missing You (Mi Yeewnii) – Palm
- 2003 – The Best of the Early Years (compilation) – Wrasse
- 2005 – Palm World Voices: Baaba Maal (compilation) – Palm
- 2008 – On The Road (compilation) – Palm
- 2009 – Television – Palm
- 2016 – The Traveller – Palm / Marathon Artists
- 1999 – Unwired: Acoustic Music from Around the World – World Music Network
- 2013 – The Rough Guide to the Music of Senegal – World Music Network
- 2009 - “Telivison” w/ Brazilian Girls
- 2016 – Johannesburg w/ Mumford and Sons – Glassnote Entertainment Group
- 1999 – Live at the Royal Festival Hall – Palm Pictures
- Romer, Megan. "Baaba Maal Profile and Biography - Learn More About Senegalese African Musician Baaba Maal". Worldmusic.about.com. Archived from the original on 2015-09-06. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
- "Baaba Maal - The International Star Of Senegal Music". African-music-safari.com. 2016-01-05. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
-  Archived September 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Launches with God Only Knows, a star-studded film featuring 'The Impossible Orchestra'". BBC Music. October 7, 2014.
- Empire, Kitty (17 January 2016). "Baaba Maal: The Traveller review – where tradition meets Auto-Tune". The Observer. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
- Honigmann, David (20 November 2015). "Baaba Maal: 'It all started by the river'". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- Perry, Kevin (3 January 2016). "Senegal: a trip to Baaba Maal's music festival". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
- "Hear Mumford & Sons' New Collaboration With Baaba Maal, 'There Will Be Time'". Spin.com. 2016-04-21. Retrieved 2016-06-18.