Daby Balde

Following his highly acclaimed first album, Daby Balde returns with more haunting melodies and gently lilting rhythms on Le Marigot Club, Dakar. Long celebrated at home in Senegal for his smooth and hypnotic voice, this album features the music that Daby performs regularly in Le Marigot Club, his popular venue in Dakar.

Daby’s stunning compositions and arrangements are based in the Fula traditions from the south of Senegal and Le Marigot Club is one of the few places in Dakar where Fula music (as opposed to the more commonly heard mbalax) can be heard. A cultural and musical hotspot that’s always full of characters and awash with energy, Daby regularly performs there to a packed-out crowd. Often bursting at the seams with good music, and a regular haunt for those in the know, this album includes a buy one drink, get one free voucher at Le Marigot Club, valid until the end of 2010.

Named after the Marigot, a river which runs through Daby’s home region of Kolda and on whose banks he spent his childhood, Daby opened his club with the intention of preserving his Fula musical traditions. One of his main aspirations is to keep African roots and culture alive and to teach the younger generation about their rich musical culture, and as well as performing at Le Marigot Club he also plays other venues around Senegal.

Moutarou ‘Daby’ Balde was born on 26 April 1969 in the city of Kolda, Fouladou (an area of the Casamance region in south Senegal). Separated from the arid north of the country by the Gambia, the verdant southern region of Casamance is a world apart, culturally and musically. A lush, almost tropical area famous for its deep roots in ancestral values and customs, there is a strong Mandinka presence in the area, which has produced many of the great kora players.

Daby attended the Koranic School in Kolda and, at the age of 11, often used to sing and compose folkloric songs for numerous traditions, such as circumcisions, burning the midnight oil and wrestling ceremonies. Born into a noble family, Daby encountered many family difficulties with his choice to pursue a musical career, and when he left school in 1987 he decided to go into exile.

After spending six months in Guinea, he briefly returned home before going to Gambia for six years. He worked as a taxi driver and began learning the guitar with the help of an English VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas) teacher, who gave him his first guitar.

Eventually, he returned home in 1994, when an audition with Kolda Regional Orchestra established him as their lead vocalist. After nine months, he travelled to Dakar and began performing regularly there and back home in Kolda. And, after performing in a large concert organized by the Belgian NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) Vredensaleiden in Senegal, he was invited to perform at Flanders Ethno festival and Draunter festival in Belgium.

The release of his debut album Introducing Daby Balde in 2005 saw the growth of his international fan base and was championed by some of the bastions of the world music scene. The BBC’s Charlie Gillett, for example, found the album ‘astonishingly good … an endlessly satisfying experience’. Daby was invited to perform widely across the UK during the summer of 2006 and 2007 and he performed at the WOMAD, Africa Oyé, Larmer Tree and Blues On The Farm festivals, as well as at the celebrated world music venue Momo’s, in London.

Daby’s music draws on his life experiences, his travels and his Fouladou culture, which, due to the ethnic diversity of the Casamance region and its surrounding countries (Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Gambia), lends the music a particular rhythm (quite different to that of the Dakar sound). This album was recorded in Dakar with Daby’s regular line-up and you can hear the sumptuous West African sounds of the korabalafon, acoustic guitar and percussion alongside his sonorous voice.

Daby also has a long-term plan to investigate all the historic sites of Fouladou culture, across southern Senegal, Guinea, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, and create a documentary about it. 

Le Marigot Club Dakar - The Tracks

01      Yaye Boye (Wolof)
A lament for children who lose their mothers during childbirth. This is sung from the view of one such innocent, who asks his grandmother who will take care of him now.

02      Lalé Kouma (Mandinka)
Europe every day. Singing about the hazards of immigration, Daby tells a tale of how a group of Africans decide to risk everything in order to make it to Barcelona.

03      Kélé Rewbéh (Fula)
Criticizing the people who stand about bad-mouthing Africa and its problems, Daby implores them to stand up and be proactive and stop spreading negativity about their homeland.

04      Nalankobéh (Fula)
A song in praise of African griots and the importance of their role as historical witnesses.

05      Lambé Leydi (Fula)
A revolutionary Daby rages against corrupt establishments and politicians whose personal agendas are detrimental to the economic, political and social development of Senegal. 

06      N'Diaye Yo N'Diaye (Wolof)
This is a tribute to Omar Lo N’Diaye, one of Daby’s best friends and a Parliament member. Separated from other corrupt politicians by his ideals, Daby praises his courage in defending the interests of Senegal and their hometown of Kolda.

07      Simbanam (Fula)
Weeping for the victims of marginalization, Daby bemoans the inhuman process which allows people to be rejected by society for the way they live or for what they believe in.

08      Thionnimani (Fula)
Daby sings about the increasing number of people who are drawn to witch doctors or ‘diviners’, who advise self-sacrifices and spiritual baths.

09      Aimé (French)
A charming love song about a young girl waiting for a phone call from the man she loves.

10      Le Joola (Wolof/Joola)
Le Joola was a Senegalese government-owned ferry that sunk off the coast of Gambia on 26 September 2002, killing nearly 2000 people. This is a cry from all the Joola, Fula, Manjak, Mandinka and Wolof victims who lost their lives during the tragedy.

11      Egguéh Soumbinam (Fula)
A famous cigar seller, Egguéh is an old woman who lives near Daby’s family home. The comical lyrics describe how there is always a mad rush to get to Egguéh’s house after lunch.

12      Na Kady (Fula)
A beautiful woman, Na Kady has been unable to conceive for over twenty years. Daby sings of her heartbreak and how the community rejects her as a witch.

13      Almoudo (Fula)
Daby sings about the children who are sent to Koranic Schools and who end up begging for food and money in order to avoid beatings. This is a common problem in Senegal.