Mbaye Dieye Faye

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Mbaye Dieye Faye (born 1 October 1960) is a singer and a Senegalese percussionist.


Mbaye Dieye Faye is a singer and percussionist in Senegal. Although patrilineally from the noble Serer Faye family, he was born to a modest family of griots. He had a difficult life before he became a celebrity. He sings because he's a griot, but it's a passion for him to sing. He dreamt of being one of the famous singers in his country.

He grew in a family of griots, but he had problems when he wanted to be a singer. Formerly, people used to say that when you sing, you are going to "take a bad way." For instance, you can use drugs or alcohol—because of the environment, bars, hotels, dancing—so, that was the reason his father defended him to become a drummer.[1]

When he was a child, his father sent him to koranic school before he entered French school. But at a young age, he deserted school and became a carpenter of metals after he began to tap the drums. When he first informed his father about his affection for music, his father started to beat him. It was after becoming conscious of his son's devotion that his father consented.[2]

But like many other children, Mbaye Dieye Faye was very stubborn, so he continued to decide to be a singer before his father decided to give him his agreement. After all, it was typical for the young son of Sing Sing to tap the drums. Like it is said in a Wolof proverb, "Donou sa baaye ayoul," meaning that it's not a shame to follow the same job as your father. So Mbaye Dieye Faye begun to tap the drums with his companion Youssou N'Dour well known as the "King of Mbalax" in Senegal. Mbaye Dieye Faye had begun singing when he gave up his work as a metal carpenter. Too young, Mbaye Dieye Faye left this school.

His first concert with Youssou N'Dour was delightful for them even if they got only one thousand Cfa each. Youssou N'Dour is an old best friend and a colleague of Mbaye Dieye Faye. According to Mbaye Dieye Faye, Youssou Nour is the best among the best people. They share many things, and together they will realize their dream, success.

In his adulthood, he married his beloved Mame Ndiaye and has his kids with her. According to Mbaye Dieye Faye, it is not easy to become famous, but also it's not easy to be celebrated. Indeed, famous people are not free; they can't do whatever they want. To gain his life, Mbaye Dieye Faye has his music, the praise he made during ceremonies, concerts, and advertisements such as ‘ halib’ a milk product, ‘the la force’ a tea product... [2]


Now, Mbaye Dieye Faye is a famous singer and percussionist in Senegal. He makes rhythm in his music, the Mbalax. What makes Mbaye Faye remarkable is not only his ability to beat the drum but his way of dancing and giving life in his concerts. Since he is always a “griot,” he knows how to make himself listened to. He is a court musician; he sang praise and told the history of people of the region which interest people. The advertisements also make him famous.

Formally, the Senegalese Mbalax was not very rhythmic because they used only drums and some traditional instruments. However, it changed entirely with the modern musicians, particularly Mbaye Dieye Faye. This latter with the new tools such as the piano, guitar, and saxophone play a mixed music meaning the traditional music and the modern one—for instance, the beat of drums and the blare of trumpets.[1]

Mbaye Dieye Faye has composed some albums, such as Songama, Live biir Thiossane, Oupoukay, and others. Songoma is the most famous, and the one most appreciated by the audience. This music had caused many problems because of religious principles. Indeed, it is a dance that required a particular way of dressing. It is called “Joubax out,” missing Wolof and English, which means literally “navel out.” To attract more attention, girls wore indecently, tied, and transparent clothes. They must look like prostitutes to be exciting. However, others think that “songoma” only dances like all dances. It brings people to be more friends to enjoy oneself. So, even in families, people can dance it just for pleasure.

Live in Thiossane, is also a very great album. The wolof word “Thiossane” is a dancing night club owned by Youssou Ndour. Oupoukay brought much pleasure to people. The rhythm and the sound were wonderful.[3]

Mbaye Dieye Faye is the percussionist of the” Super Etoile” band. But he tends to sing at the same time with Youssou Ndour. He plays an essential role in the group. Mbaye Dieye Faye has his style in music, very much appreciated by Senegalese people, particularly women. In “Mbalax” rhythm, he introduced—as he calls it—“Khorom” (Salt ). Nobody can dance to his music without getting tired. Indeed, it is tough to follow his drums. And it's like doing sport because dancing his music means jumping, moving one's body, and all members. So, nothing must be calm.

The role of Mbaye Dieye Faye in the band is also to make entertainment adequately. He is a griot, a repository of oral tradition, a praise singer, but he is more interested in singing love and romance. Most of the time, he uses “Tassou,” a kind of speech with some rhythms, reminding one of rap music. That is mainly for amusing people, but often, statements contain vulgar expressions. And for him, it is for exciting dancers and having them moving more.


  1. ^ a b Ba, W and Ndiaye M, December 4, 2005, Palabres avec Mbaye Dieye Faye, April 13, 2006; From
  2. ^ a b Niang, M. O., Mbaye Dieye Faye: Life and work, April 13, 2006, « Interview with Mbaye Dieye Faye,» Dakar, Senegal
  3. ^ Boizet S, 2005, Les trémoussements sataniques, April 13, 2006, From:

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