Unreleased Home Recording of Baaba Maal

Baaba Maal is, in my opinion, one of West Africa's most interesting artists.  He has invested himself deeply in the HalPulaar musical traditions of the Futa Tooro, both learning from and performing with all of the masters of Futanke traditional music, using his fame and resources to record and promote dozens of artists.  He has also, more than many of his Senegalese peers, taken creative risks, pushing into different musical universes, losing some of his audience along the way and reaching new listeners.  He is simultaneously one of West Africa's most rooted and most cosmopolitan artists.   

Baaba got his start travelling the Futa, performing in the intimacy of courtyards and living rooms with his mentor Mansour Seck.  These two videos give you an idea of the loose vibe of these musical evenings.

This next video features Mansour on electric guitar.


There used to be a cassette stall close to the Marche Cinquieme in Nouakchott, Mauritania that had hundreds of recordings of the great 20th century HalPulaar griots.  I spent many afternoons going through their collection and picked up a dozen recordings of Baaba performing for his patrons in these intimate settings.  Unfortunately, the sound quality of most of these recordings is terrible, they are mostly saturated guitars, muffled thumps and a squelched voice.

One of these cassettes, however, is fantastic.  I don't know when or where this recording was made.  I also don't know who the wonderful guitarist accompanying Baaba Maal is.  But I love his phased, hypnotic sound: ripple after ripple of loose melodic playing provide the perfect counterpoint to Baaba's voice.

The only marking on the cassette is 'Baaba Maal #9'.  The beginning of each side is a little wobbly.  Push on.

Baaba Maal - Unreleased Cassette #9


  1. wow this is beautiful i have listened to it 4 times already. its a space i want to be in.
    look forward to exploring other sounds here. thank you so much


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