Friday, February 8, 2008

Dakar Divas Pt. 3: Aby Ngana Diop




Liitaal, by Aby Ngana Diop, is one of those recordings that sneaks up behind you, knocks you upside the head with a two-by-four, and leaves you dazed and bleeding on the sidewalk, wondering what hit you.

I know absolutely nothing about this Senegalese chanteuse, nor does anyone else, but that hasn't stopped those who have heard this early '90s cassette (apparently her only recording) from going absolutely bonkers (just Google her name if you don't believe me).

Continuing the sporadic series "Dakar Divas," here is Liital in its two-fisted, glorious, astonishing entirety. Aby Ngana Diop - truly a singer worthy of the name diva!

Aby Ngana Diop - Dieueul-Dieuleul

Aby Ngana Diop - Ndame

Aby Ngana Diop - Yaye Penda Mbaye

Aby Ngana Diop - Liital

Aby Ngana Diop - Sapaly

Aby Ngana Diop - Ndadje



Update: Thanks to Matthew Lavoie from the VOA African Music Treasures blog, for providing some essential background information on Aby Ngana Diop and her music. According to Matt, Mme. Diop was born in the Dakar region and was the area's most famous tassukat (tassu being
a form of sung Wolof rhythmic verse that is often used to impart traditional values to children). Matt writes, ". . . She performed in Europe a few times and appeared on stage with Doudou N'Diaye Rose. Most of her performances though were at baptisms and weddings in and around Dakar. Your post sparked my curiosity. I have been trying to learn more about her life. So far, I've come up short. I spoke with Mbaye Gueye, who produced the cassette, and he knew nothing about her. I've also spoken to several music journalists in Dakar. . . nothing. I'll keep you posted." Matt also reports that he's heard that Aby Ngana Diop passed away in the late '90s, between '96 and '98, although he can't confirm this.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where can I find a full length copy of Aby Ngana Diop? She is amazing. I need to start paying attention to your blog. Your awesome. jrmustard@gmail.com

John B. said...

You can find a full-length copy right here. This is the whole cassette and, as far as I know, the only recording Aby's ever made.

Big Banana said...

Ouch-THIS IS TOO HOT TO HANDLE! AMAZING!
I would love to hear more music like this. Is this M'balax?

John B. said...

Banana -

I don't know if technically speaking this is "Mbalax." I'm sure there's a term for this genre, whatever it is. I agree, it's red hot!

John

Grateful Guest said...

Hello and thank you for sharing this!
I came across an interview with Baba Maal, where the interviewer, Charles Sugnet, says: "Do you think that New World musics can actually be traced back to specific African origins? Some people in Senegal have said that rap began with Tasso, a form of rhythmic singing and speaking done by Senegalese women - and that therefore, Aby Ngana Diop is one of the first rappers." (Baaba Maal
Transition © 1997 W.E.B. Du Bois Institute)
This seems to indicate that she is well known in Senegal.

matthew said...

John,
Thanks so much for these Dakar diva postings. This is my favorite Senegalese music. I return to these cassettes much more than I do to the big names of Mbalax. This Aby Ngana Diop cassette is so good. She passed away in the late 1990s (between 96 & 98- I am waiting for confirmation). She was born in the Dakar region and was the capital's most famous tassukat. She performed in Europe a few times and appeared on stage with Doudou N'Diaye Rose. Most of her performances though were at baptisms and weddings in and around Dakar. Your post sparked my curiousity...I have been trying to learn more about her life. So far...i've come up short. I spoke with Mbaye Gueye, who produced the cassette, and he knew nothing about her. I've also spoken to several music journalists in Dakar...nothing. I'll keep you posted.

John B. said...

Matt:

Thanks for that information. I'll probably append it to the main post.

What is a "Tassukat"? I Googled the term and came up with a bunch of Finnish or Estonian - language websites.

Ambiance Congo said...

Cool that you have made this classic availablwe to a wider audience. This is a GREAT cassette, one I've enjoyed and played over and over for many many years.
Thanks for putting this up. Love that synth and sabar combination!

matthew said...

Hello John,

A tassukat is a specialist in tassu...which is a form of sung Wolof rhythmic verse that is often used to impart traditional values to children. From what I can gather Aba Ngana was the most renowned of her generation.

madsear said...

Yeah Aby Ngana was the most famous tassukat but also she was the only to have reached out to the younger generation by making videos and performing with djs and such. She worked with PBs and Daara J that's for sure.
Anyway, i just discovered your website by trying to fill my ipod with some senegalese videos and i was looking for her. You don't know how happy this makes me

Anonymous said...

whoa I AM HOME, this the place I was looking for.
I confirm aby passed away 10 years ago, two months after her husband. She was mourned by all her pears, and still remembered for her work. She was a tremendous performer and entertainer. She also starred in a local movie you won't find anywhere today.

Mouhamadou said...

Aby Ngana Diop was such an amazing tassukat. I remember when the song Dieuleul-Dieuleul came out, it was an immediate success. We'll always remember her for her music. The last time I hear her was in 1997 with Youssou N'Dour and PBS at the tribute to the late N'Diaga M'Baye for his 30 years of music. God rests her soul.

mike3k said...

I got that tape years ago from Africassette & I really love it. I mentioned her to Boubacar N'dour & Jimi M'baye in 2001 and they told me that she died a few years earlier.

j-Fx said...

I need more music like this -- please someone drop some names!

David said...

@j-Fx: another tassukat singer is Ndella Xallas. There is something up on Youtube.

NGONI said...

It seems that this tape is heating the web, once a Senegalese musician told me that the mbalax is simply one of the traditional rhythms of the sabar.

For a little more about, especially traditional rhythms on tassu can come in here and here.

Some musicians who can not curb his tongue when encouraged the parties, are known tassoukat as Pape Thiopet, Adja Fall, Salam Diallo.

Some consider Tassu the origin of rap.

But when a party gets too hot, has the danger of crossing the boundaries and that has created a bad reputation in Senegal.

PAPE said...

Did know her,she was like a Mum to me.Thanks so Much for a such good thing.

NGONI said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NGONI said...

Hi John have you seen this?
http://youtu.be/lqfAkIESoOU?t=3m