Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Maangi dem - Leaving

Saturday night, my last in Dakar, I finally went to see Youssou N'dour. He's Senegal's most famous celebrity and singer, revered with the top African musicians, has toured everywhere, released plusiers best-selling albums, and when he's at home he plays every weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) at his Club Thiossane (meaning roots in wolof) in Amities 2 in Dakar. I'd found a CD of his at the library before I came to Senegal. I remember thinking he had an amazing voice, but I couldn't really get into his music. Now after hearing it played in my ear in so many taxis and dancing to it at Dakar night clubs it 's comfort food.

The thing about Youssou N'dour is he spearheaded a whole genre of popular music in Senegal, so now if you're not hearing his music, you're hearing a pretty good rip off of it. His music also fits hand-in-hand with a particular style of dance here called mbalax,
which arguably Senegalese could mbalax to anything it doesn't necessarily have to be Youssou N'Dour or anyone like him. It's a dance mostly done with the knees and the occasional hip bump thrown in there to varying degrees depending on if you're male or female.

Unfortunately I'd waited until my last weekend to see him because I would love to go back for more nights at his club or even catching him at the various other places he plays around Senegal. He's an incredible performer and I did my best to sway and dance and
mbalax with the best of them just until 4 a.m. and I barely walked out of the club.


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