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Africa - Released January 1, 2001 | Palm Pictures

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
In 2001 Baaba Maal was internationally renowned as one of the most important African stars. Produced in collaboration with Chris Blackwell, who discovered Bob Marley, the Senegalese singer’s previous albums contributed to defining the great currents of world music during the nineties. He put Senegalese rap on the map, experimented with Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and other sound adventurers. With Missing You he’s the first important African artist to go back to his acoustic roots. Produced by Englishman John Leckie (Radiohead, Stone Roses…) this album was recorded in a mobile studio in the centre of Toucouleur village of Toubab Dialaw. With the exception of an electric bass, all instruments are acoustic: guitars, kora, hoddu, tambin, balafon and numerous percussions such as tama, sabra drums and congas. Numerous choristers, both male and female, have been used in support of the already powerful voice of Baaba Maal. The songs, composed for the occasion, take full advantage of the natural environment in which they were recorded as animal cries and atmospheres of vigils punctuate intimate ballads. And even though we can’t actually discern it, it’s obvious the public galvanised the musicians during the album’s liveliest tracks. Despite the years, this album hasn’t shown any sign of ageing and remains a wonderful way to experience the atmosphere of African nights at a Peul village, animated by its brightest star. © BM/Qobuz
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World - Released July 1, 1989 | Palm Pictures

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World - Released January 1, 1994 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Senegalese pop legend-to-be Baaba Maal released Firin' in Fouta in 1994. The album starts with a tribute to his bass player (and his family lineage of griots). Following is a tribute to African women that has more than a tinge of Latin thrown in. "Swing Yela" is a piece infused with more than his usual amount of pop, including a small dose of rap. Following songs range in topic from the Muslim faith to the world market to children's games. The thing that makes Baaba Maal appealing, especially on the Western market, is the way in which he combines seemingly traditional vocal techniques with up to date instrumentation. The keyboards and, more importantly, the drum loops give the songs a deep European club feel along with a strong push in the way of the vocals. Overall, its not a bad album in any way, though it could be attacked by fundamentalists on either side of the range of the album. African traditional music fanatics as well as Parisian clubbers. Conversely, it could easily be embraced by both. For a look into the brightest form of new music in the worldbeat tradition (traditional + western = worldbeat), Firin' in Fouta might be a pretty good shot. © Adam Greenberg /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 1992 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

This is the album that introduced Baaba Maal's singular mix of traditional African rhythms and Western arrangements to the world. His third recording, Lam Toro bounds ahead of his previous two albums (which explored his folk roots), transforming Senegalese music with funky grooves and electrified melodies. © Rosalind Cummings-Yeates /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2001 | Palm Pictures

In 2001 Baaba Maal was internationally renowned as one of the most important African stars. Produced in collaboration with Chris Blackwell, who discovered Bob Marley, the Senegalese singer’s previous albums contributed to defining the great currents of world music during the nineties. He put Senegalese rap on the map, experimented with Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and other sound adventurers. With Missing You he’s the first important African artist to go back to his acoustic roots. Produced by Englishman John Leckie (Radiohead, Stone Roses…) this album was recorded in a mobile studio in the centre of Toucouleur village of Toubab Dialaw. With the exception of an electric bass, all instruments are acoustic: guitars, kora, hoddu, tambin, balafon and numerous percussions such as tama, sabra drums and congas. Numerous choristers, both male and female, have been used in support of the already powerful voice of Baaba Maal. The songs, composed for the occasion, take full advantage of the natural environment in which they were recorded as animal cries and atmospheres of vigils punctuate intimate ballads. And even though we can’t actually discern it, it’s obvious the public galvanised the musicians during the album’s liveliest tracks. Despite the years, this album hasn’t shown any sign of ageing and remains a wonderful way to experience the atmosphere of African nights at a Peul village, animated by its brightest star. © BM/Qobuz
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World - Released March 16, 1999 | Palm Pictures

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World - Released July 14, 1998 | Palm Pictures

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World - Released July 1, 2016 | Knitting Factory

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World - Released June 8, 1998 | Palm Pictures

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Africa - Released January 1, 1998 | Syllart Records

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Africa - Released January 1, 2003 | Syllart Records

Senegal's Maal borrows from reggae, funk, and Tuculeur traditions for his take on international pop. Wango is one of his strongest efforts. © J. Poet /TiVo
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World - Released August 10, 2008 | Palm Pictures

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Africa - Released November 12, 2013 | Baaba Maal

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Africa - Released September 3, 2013 | Baaba Maal

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World - Released January 15, 2016 | Knitting Factory

Senegalese singer, songwriter, and guitarist Baaba Maal hasn't recorded an album in six years, but he hasn't been idle. He's run an annual music festival, Blues du Fleuve, in his hometown of Podor in northern Senegal since 2006, and performed widely with the international unit Playing for Change. He's also been soaking up modern sounds. The Traveller, his 11th album, is drenched in electronic sounds that complement his meld of Senegalese folk and pop and offer the fruit of his journeys. It was produced by Johan Hugo (the Very Best), and recorded in Dakar and London. The Maal/Hugo collaboration first surfaced in March of 2014 with the raw dancefloor bubbler "Suma Rokia." The Traveller is simultaneously more polished and rootsier. Not (entirely) focused on the club, it leaves room for more of Maal's traditional sound even as it lets the electro flow. Opener "Fulani Rock" cooks. Mamadou Sarr's djembes thunder amid sonic vocal treatments by Hugo (AutoTune among them) as dirty, distorted guitars crisscross, creating a furious collision of rhythms that are momentarily interrupted by a martial chant in the bridge. It's followed by "Gilli Men." The acoustic guitars of Maal and Kalifa Baldi offer circular interplay amid loops and kalimbas. Maal's trance-like singing is supported by the Dakar Church Choir. Other cuts, such as "One Day," recall Maal's earlier work, but the layers of reverb, digital delay, and spiky electric guitars deliver compelling layers of texture and color. "Lampenda" commences as a simple Fulani folk song underscored by Maal and Baldi's gorgeous guitar playing (they should tour as a duo) and a church organ. But as multiple sabar drums enter the mix (by Bahkane Seck & Family), Hugo stirs in sweeping strings and keyboards, transforming it into a pop anthem -- and celebrates fishermen! The title track features an appearance by Mumford & Sons' Winston Marshall on banjo. Initially it resembles a Malian blues, playing behind multi-tracked backing vocals. But it quickly shifts into a gentle road song with a glorious four-voice male and female backing chorus adding the notion of celebration. There are big beats driving it all, but they're reined in by the canny, eclipsing interplay between Maal and Baldi. The final two cuts, co-written with author Lemn Sissay -- who speaks them in English -- are "War" and "Peace." Maal plays guitar and sings in the backdrop. The former is an urgent, drum-driven call to reject the perils of nationalism; the latter is a prayer for the healing of people and the Earth. Its peul flute, kora, guitars, and organic percussion add an emotional resonance to the lyric. Maal's embrace of technology on The Traveller isn't new: he's been open to it since 2009's Television; it's simply more pervasive here. Nonetheless, he has found a way to use it as a simple extension of his iconic sound. In these songs Maal continues to celebrate his people, his culture, and the Fulani language, even as he presents the listener with challenges to their preservation from inside and outside Senegal. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Africa - Released August 25, 2009 | Palm Pictures

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Africa - Released January 1, 1990 | Syllart Records

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Africa - Released September 3, 2013 | Baaba Maal

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Reggae - Released October 24, 2011 | Lignum Vitae Records

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World - Released November 3, 1998 | Palm Pictures