We Need Identity for African Music - Baaba Maal

Friday, December 15, 2017

Baaba Maal, veteran Senegalese artist-songwriter has said that Africa needs to impose a brand of its own for African music.

“It’s time for what we share with the world to be developed here, as  the main foundations of music must above all meet the standards of “exchange and sharing” that can only flow through travel,” he said during the opening of Music In Africa Conference for Collaborations, Exchange and Showcases (ACCES) on 17-18 November, 2017 in Dakar, Senegal at Place du Souvenir.

It is an annual music conference that hosts industry players from across the African continent dedicated to the African music sector, experts exchange round tables. It also attracted night concerts, exhibitions and Networking sessions which brought together artistes, musicians, journalists and teachers who shared their knowledge of music.

During those two days, about fifty specialists from fifteen countries intervened. Ten concerts were organized and a workshop was initiated.

Maal said: “We can and must interact with other cultures, while keeping ours intact, this exchange must in no case lead to the loss of the various assets”

He emphasized that he himself comes from a country where diversity is a real asset.

He explained that the city of Podor was born from the crossroads of wealth and exchange.

Diversity and openness

This diversity is a huge advantage for the artist, who can therefore afford to revisit several musical registers, he notes. Research is essential in musical practice. In this respect, Africa has an inestimable cultural wealth that only needs to be explored and then exploited, he said. In this respect, he invites the younger generation to give themselves “the trouble to do research”.

Moreover, he noted, he himself had to travel West Africa region for two years, for the sole purpose of diversifying his collection. Baaba Maal, who preaches “openness”, is nonetheless committed to “genuine musical rooting”.

Birane Niang, Senegal Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture, hailed “the beautiful initiative, cultural as well as intellect taken by Acces”.

Niang is convinced that such an initiative contributes to “the consolidation of skills, in a contribution to the development of the music industry”. He renewed “the commitment of the government to support the cause”

Aisha Deme, chairperson of Music In Africa emphasizes that “through this initiative, they want to contribute to the implementation of a real music industry in Africa.

“It will be, during those two days, to facilitate the exchanges between different actors of the music scene, coming from different countries,” Deme explained.

She emphasizes that beyond the exchanges that will certainly be fruitful from the point of view, especially the diversity of profiles present, “the meeting will set up practical modalities subject to a link in a long chain”.

Author: Njie Baldeh