Baaba Maal (often misspelled as Baba Maal) believes that music is an important tool to get messages out to people, especially in Africa. And he doesn’t just say that, he puts it into practice:
His songs are not based on what people may want to hear. His songs talk about things they need to hear. Like the griots, his role models, Baaba has the gift to present any message in pleasant way that opens hearts.
In 1953, Baaba was born in Podor, a small town in Senegal, Africa. He belongs to the Tukulor ethnic group. Son of a fisherman, the people in his local community expected him to follow in his father’s footsteps.
But it was his mother, who had a major influence on him. A musician, she taught Baaba the music of the local area. This awakened his fascination for music with thoughtful and intelligent lyrics.
After studying music at the University of Dakar and winning a scholarship for postgraduate studies at Beaux-Arts in Paris, he joined his longtime friend and griot Mansour Seck and toured West Africa, adding to his musical knowledge along the way.
Baaba spends much of his time touring the world, performing in front of international audiences. But after the show he returns home to his small town. His life always was and still is dedicated to his country and his people. He cares about what’s going on there.
Baaba has been recording since the late 1980’s. He gained much attention with his musical experiments: He studied various African styles and fused them together, adding modern facets to traditional instruments. This results in a fresh, raw sound called Afropop.
In 2002, Baaba helped record the soundtrack of “Black Hawk Down” and in 2008 he created the soundtrack for the video game “Far Cry 2”.