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Baaba Maal back with new music, ‘Glastonbury of Africa’ festival hopes

Baaba Maal back with new music, ‘Glastonbury of Africa’ festival hopes

Baaba Maal back with new music, ‘Glastonbury of Africa’ festival hopes

Baaba Maal back with new music, ‘Glastonbury of Africa’ festival hopes

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  • Baaba Maal, a Senegalese singer and guitarist, has released his first single in six years.
  • The 69-year-old last week announced his new album “Being”, out in March.
  • Maal has also lent his vocals to the “Black Panther” movie soundtracks.
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When Baaba Maal, a Senegalese singer and guitarist, put out his most recent album, “The Traveller,” in 2016, he wasn’t sure if he would put out another record.

After an absence of six years, he has returned with a new single honouring the fisherman of his local village in northern Senegal. This song is the first to be taken from his upcoming album, which is scheduled for release in 2023.

“I thought…I did so many albums and I’m going make a break and just focus on all the engagements with my family and then suddenly, my body, my soul, my heart, my spirit, everything did remind me that I’m an artist,” he said in an interview. “I want to write songs.”

The 69-year-old last week announced his new album “Being”, out in March. The seven-track record, mixing traditional African instruments with electronic touches, addresses themes like technology and the environment. The uptempo song “Yerimayo Celebration”, released last week, salutes the cultures of fishermen, the profession of Maal’s father.

“It’s music not just to listen to but to think about all the engagements that we have right now in the world and especially in Africa, like climate change, like protecting the environment,” Maal said.

“All these young people who take the boats, they have to go because there is sometimes no opportunity for them here.”

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Maal began hosting the Blues du Fleuve festival in his hometown of Podor, which is located on the Senegal River, in the year 2005. The once-a-year celebration has developed into a massively well-attended get-together that features musical and cultural performances as well as forums for the discussion of timely topics such as the effects of climate change on neighborhood communities.

“I wanted just to bring back something home…But I never expected it to become so big and so popular now,” Maal said.

“Sometimes I (joked) with my friends (saying) ‘I want this festival to be like the Glastonbury of Africa’. I don’t know if it’s possible, maybe, let’s hope.”

Maal has also lent his vocals to the “Black Panther” movie soundtracks, becoming the “voice of Wakanda”, the fictional African nation in which the films are set in.

“Wakanda, if ever it existed, it might be Africa…and to be the voice of Africa, it’s great for me. It’s a very positive Africa.”

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