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Traditional / folk music of SENEGAL


Senegal is one of the most significant and leading country in the music of Africa.  It is not a big country but it has huge number of musicians and their music is based on their traditional music. Senegal is a contradictory country, although the majority of country are Muslim, but the fundamentalism of Islam has not been into Senegal and Muslims of Senegal have a modern version of Islam. Islam came to Senegal through Morocco. 

Senegal has a long history of human habitation and it was a land for many different ethnic groups. The first Europeans who arrived to Senegal was Portuguese and later other European nations including French, Dutch and Great Britain arrived. But French got the upper hand and then they started the slavery trade from Senegal and also introduce Christiany to Senegal. They didn't go inside the country for a long time, in 1850s they started to expand into mainland too. Senegal achieved its independence from French on 1959.

Baaba Mal, one of the most important and famous musicians of Senegal says: "The base of all music in Senegal is traditional." Maybe many of the music genres in the world, are influenced by folk music of Senegal. Like country blues, calypso, reggae,  beguine and even rap. 

One of the most important folk rhythms of Senegal, is Yela. During pre-colonial era, Senegalese empires used to call people for important events. It is also a traditional music performed by women. Today sound and rhythm of Yela (and also many other rhythms from different ethnic groups) can be heard in traditional and also modern music of Senegal by many pioneer musician. For example, Baaba Mal, Youssou N'Dour or Mansour Seck.

Griot Music

This type of folk music in fact was oral history telling. Griots were storytellers, historians and poets. They were part of oral tradition and were keeping the history and culture through their folk music and songs. This traditional music was also very popular in other West African countries like Gambia, Mauritania, Guinea,...
The main traditional music instrument which is used by griots is Kora. It is a kind of lute with 21 strings, but originally it had seven strings. Many of the contemporary traditional musicians of Senegal comes from a griot family like Mansour Seck.

Mbalax

This type of music maybe the most well-known and important music of Senegal. It is also the national dance of Senegal (and Gambia). It was developed during 1960s and it was popularized by the effort of Youssou N'Dour. It is mixture of many different music genres from cuban music to traditional drumming of Senegal named sabar. Youssou N'Dour was in fact the first person who mixed traditional music with sabar drums, saxophones, and electric guitars. Sabar drumming consist of mbung mbung (lead drum), djembé , tama (talking drum), ngorum, bougarabu, tungune, ndende, nder, tiol, and talmbeut, collectively called "tam tams", each with a slightly different pitch and role in the rhythm. The genre's name derived from the heavy use of accompanying rhythms used in sabar called mbalax. 

Some traditional music instruments other than those mentioned above are the fiddle-like riti (with two strings usually), the hoddu (or xalam which is string instrument from one to five strings).

If you have more information about the folk music of Senegal, please kindly let us know through the contact us page. If you know some traditional songs from Senegal, you can send it from “Post a song” link in the top menu. If you see something wrong in the tags of list below, please kindly let us know.


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Traditional / folk songs for SENEGAL


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Unknown Artist
Song:  Narrative With Kora Accompaniment
By:  Unknown Artist
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, griot, kora
Orchestre Africa Djembé
Song:  Assiko
By:  Orchestre Africa Djembé
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, djembé

Orchestre Africa Djembé
Song:  Wari Kolela
By:  Orchestre Africa Djembé
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, djembé
Thione Seck
Song:  Sandaga Dub
By:  Thione Seck
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, mbalax

Mansour Seck
Song:  Poulore
By:  Mansour Seck
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, African blues, kora
Mansour Seck
Song:  Soukabe Leydam
By:  Mansour Seck
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, griot, kora

Youssou N'Dour
Song:  Nanette Ada
By:  Youssou N'Dour
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, popular music of Senegal, mbalax
Youssou N'Dour
Song:  Badou
By:  Youssou N'Dour
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, popular music of Senegal, mbalax

Cheikh Lô
Song:  Zikr
By:  Cheikh Lô
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, sufi music
Cheikh Lô
Song:  Jamm
By:  Cheikh Lô
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music

Baaba Maal
Song:  Joulowo
By:  Baaba Maal
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, griot, kora
Baaba Maal
Song:  Colel
By:  Baaba Maal
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music

Nuru Kane
Song:  Diarama
By:  Nuru Kane
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, African blues, desert blues, kora
Nuru Kane
Song:  Colère
By:  Nuru Kane
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, African blues, desert blues, gnawa

Nuru Kane
Song:  Wango
By:  Nuru Kane
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, guimbri
Diabel Cissokho
Song:  Niayelé
By:  Diabel Cissokho
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, griot, kora

Diabel Cissokho
Song:  Senegal-Mali
By:  Diabel Cissokho
folk music of Senegal, traditional music of Senegal, Senegalese folk music, griot, kora

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