Saturday, August 30, 2008

Two Giants of Senegal Music




What is the deal with Moos, over at Global Groove? Can he read my mind? As I noted here, I had wanted to post the LP Somo Somo, but Moos posted it first. I've been wanting to post another great LP, Super Diamono de Dakar's classic People (Feel One DK015, 1987) for some time, and once again Global Groove beats me to the punch! Seriously, Moos' blog, having been online only a short while, is a "must go to" site featuring all kinds of rarieties from Africa and the diaspora. So, check it out.

I have a trump card, though: Euleuk Sibir! (Xippi), the mid-'90s collaboration between Senegal's top two stars of mbalax, Youssou N'Dour and Omar Pene, lead vocalist of Super Diamono de Dakar.

In an earlier post I wrote, ". . .I think most people in the know would agree that the three top male vocalists in Senegal are Youssou N'dour, Thione Seck and Omar Pene. To say one of these is 'the greatest' is to miss the point; that's like comparing apples, oranges and kiwis." On reflection Baaba Maal should probably be added to that pantheon also, not that there isn't a flock of other great Senegalese vocalists as well!

If you're reading this, I assume you have at least a cursory knowledge of Youssou N'dour and his Super Etoile de Dakar (and if you don't, go here). Omar Pène is a lot less well-known outside of Senegal, but he easily approaches N'dour in terms of popularity and sales in that country. He founded Super Diamono in 1975, and has had a number of smash hits with the group in the years since. Pène's lyrics are notable for their concentration on social issues as opposed to the praise singing that characterizes much African music.

Youssou and Omar are friendly competitors who each have rabid followings. The Super Diamono sound could be characterized as "darker" and "bluesier" that that of Super Etoile. To my knowledge, the cassette Eueleuk Sibir! is their only recording together, and it's a certifiable classic. But don't take my word for it - hear for yourself!

Omar Pène & Youssou N'dour - Euleuk Sibir!

Youssou N'dour & Omar Pène - Silmaxa

Omar Pène - Tongo

Youssou N'dour & Omar Pène - Warougar

Omar Pène & Youssou N'dour - Indépendance

Youssou N'dour - Ndanane

Discography of Youssou N'dour & le Super Etoile de Dakar

Discography of Omar Pène & Super Diamono de Dakar

You can download Euleuk Sibir! as a zipped file here.

8 comments:

aduna said...

Hello John,

Youssou Ndour and Omar Pene have always been opposed by media and fans for times. Although they are certainly not "the best friends in the world", I think they respect each other.
I was in there in 1996 and this tape was a real surprise for everyone in Senegal, especially for Super Diamono's fans (which are a little more ultras).
Thanks for the highlight.

pullo jerry said...

nice drop there john. I'm fresh off the plane from home, and needless to say I had a blast, even went to a omar pene concert 2 weeks ago and OMFG what a hell of a shocker it was to see my man literally being carried on stage as he was having all the trouble in the world climbing two stairs. I don't know if anybody noticed anything. He looked good on stage though
the word in the streets of dakar is the man is fighting diabetis, though he officially denied it
after I saw him for myself I can definitely tell the man's ill with something

Ambiance Congo said...

John: Great post. I never saw a collaboration between these bands before. FANTASTIC!

NGONI said...

Hop! ... What is happening?
Good people, good music, people sharing their treasures and inviting visitors to to walk through other blogs.

Thank you John, beautiful moment and especially thanks you for this cassette that was looking for.

We appreciate your work, it seems incredible that likembe only have one year.

Anonymous said...

ANOTHER ONE GREAT POST...
Thank you very much...
All the best!!!
Kostas from Greece.

Mouhamadou said...

Hey Aduna

Let me correct you about the "friendship" between You and Pene. It's really serious. Omar Pene invited in 1991 You in his "Boulevard", a famous show at that time. and You did the same in 1990 on his band's 9th birthday and in his famous show of June 1993at Sorano. they're really best pals. For the album "Euleuk Sibir!", people were really surprised when it first came out. It ended up being probably one of the best albums of all time

NGONI said...

I think that is quite rare to find Mbalak outside Senegal, I would leave the link to this blog, in case anyone has not found it.
Enjoy.


http://dontaskmeidontknow.blogspot.com/2008/05/various-senegal-mix-star.html

Ken said...

Hop! ... What is happening? Good people, good music, people sharing their treasures and inviting visitors to to walk through other blogs. Thank you John, beautiful moment and especially thanks you for this cassette that was looking for. We appreciate your work, it seems incredible that likembe only have one year.