Thursday, October 22, 2009

Off the Beaten Track

For all I know, recordings like Simon Sene's Magal (Afrique Dioundioung/KSF) could be as common as dirt in Senegal, so the title of this post may not be completely accurate. Still, the first time it came my way ten years ago, I knew that something set it apart from the general Wolof/Peul axis of modern Senegalese music.

Now, from his My Space Profile, I learn that Mr. Sene is a Serer, the third-largest ethnicity in Senegal (see map below), a people that still retain animistic beliefs, although some members in recent years have converted to Islam or Christianity. As a singer of traditional music at weddings and christenings, he was discovered by Moussa Bopp of Radio Kaolack and encouraged to record. At first his family resisted, objecting that the songs were meant only for the griot caste, but he recorded his first hit, "Ndakaru," in 1993. His first cassette, Magal, with its sparse yet striking arrangements for keyboards and percussion, was released in 1997. With two further releases, Jamm Cassamance in 2001 and Yaye in 2006, Simon Sene has clearly taken his place in the pantheon of modern masters of Senegal music. Enjoy!

Simon Sene - Roi des Arenes

Simon Sene - Magal

Simon Sene - Greve

Simon Sene - O Young

Simon Sene - Fexwe

Simon Sene - A Cang

Simon Sene - Maayaay

Simon Sene - Hommage a Mbissane

You can also download this album as a zipped file here. In the future I will be offering this option for the convenience of Likembe reader/listeners, and I will also try to make it available in older posts as well. As the zipped files use "free" file-hosting services (as opposed to the individual tracks, which I pay to have hosted) I can't assure that they will always be available. Let me know how it works out.


Renegade Eye said...

Really good work.

I'm sure your readers will like zip files.

Really good blog, that provides an important service.

Anonymous said...

The mediafire tracks d/l'ed and unpacked perfectly, and are being enjoyed at this moment. Many thanks.


Mouhamadou Falilou Mbacke Ndiaye said...

This album especially the 1st track was a hit in Senegal back in the 90's. You're bringing me memories of my childhood. I miss Dakar and all the crazy folks that I've ever met.

Anonymous said...

i love the individual track downloads, having a somewhat tenuous dialup connection

megaupload allows for resumed connections through an app like wget, but many other free storage sites do not

[two cents over]

just wanted to add that although i never comment, this is by far my favorite music blog, and that you are not alone on the northern prairies [eastern montana, here]

John B. said...

Anon: Thanks for the feedback. Likembe tends to be a rather "visual-heavy" site, but I'm wondering if this causes problems for people with dialup or slow connections (I was on dialup myself until 3 years ago). If this is causing problems I can make modifications.

Anonymous said...

Quite the advancement here uh ? The people upgraded from thinking hills and swamps had souls to believing there is an Arab/Jewish dude in the sky playing monopoly with their lives .

Website Designing said...

Nice band

- J.
Web Designing

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Anonymous said...

john, the graphics are no problem, seeing the record covers and pictures is always worth the wait

btw, the song 'mtaa wa saba' by mbaraka mwinshehe is damn near one of the best things i have ever heard in 40 years of listening to music


Dan Buskirk said...

Great stuff, a real fresh sound I've never heard before, Thanks.

Robert said...

I second the previous comment: thanks for opening a completely new horizon; not a frequent event for this African music addict.

Web Solutions said...

Really good work and a real fresh sound. I have never heard before it.

Dave said...

This is tremendous! Are the two newer albums available somewhere?

John B. said...

Dave: As far as I know, no. If you're in NYC, try a store in Little Senegal called Bakh Yaye, about a half block east of Frederick Douglass Blvd. on 116th St.