Mbalax: a sui generis genus

Il Mbalax: un genere sui generis

If we were to describe le son du Sénégal, the rhythm of Senegal, a single word would suffice: Mbalax.

A pace so modern as to attract the attention of us Westerners, as traditional as to offer an overview of the fervent and thriving culture ofWest Africa.
Unusual voices intoning words in the language of Wolof, ethnic drum beats here and there, and electric guitars that recall the traditional rhythms of Sabar. A bewitching popular music, so psychedelic that it pushes you to improvise a suitcase and leave for Senegal.

Griot: the minstrels of Senegal
I thought: it's nice that where my fingers end, a guitar has to start somehow. " recited the minstrel De André Griot they are for Senegal, what De André is for many generations of Italians. Poets, singers, bards who carry on the oral tradition of their land. And the Sabar it is for them the extension of the limbs, as well as the guitar for De André. A hand and a long stick alternating drumming on stretched goat skins, a communicate the vibrant notes of Senegal.

Youssou N’Dour: tradition and musical revolution 

One of the main exponents of the genre is undoubtedly Youssou N'Dour, the Michael Jackson of Senegal, who revolutionized Mbalax in a multi-instrumental mix of tradition - the talking drum, the Djembe, the Sabar - and modernity - guitars, electric basses, keyboards - creating a mash-up of rock, pop, Latin music, reggae and African oral tradition

All seasoned with moves that test balance and coordination. We find the "Cooling fan”With its rotational movements of the buttocks in a suggestive way; the "Dog”, In which the dancer raises his leg imitating the dog peeing.

The vitality of the local music scene - proud of its sounds e less inclined to import foreign music, like reggae - can be perceived walking among the stands of the traditional markets, with their small audio-cassette displays, through the boom boxes that play the most current hits, and in the voices of the boys who, enthusiastic, discuss their favorite bands in front of a good glass of "café au lait".