News Brief

This Senegalese Music Video Asks For Respect For All Children

Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba offer a timely video for "Salsa Xalel" in light of the U.S. family separations.

Senegal's Diali Cissokho and his bandmates in Kaira Ba are releasing their excellent new album, Routes, today.

Cissokho comes from a long line of Mande musicians. He moved to North Carolina from Senegal for love and, after many trials and practices, eventually found the perfect musicians to form the band, Kaira Ba, in 2012.

For Routes, Cissokho brought his American bandmates to Senegal in order to jam and create with artists across his home town of M'bour. The 11-song record was then recorded across both sides of the Atlantic, which gives it a unique Afro-rock groove.

Today, we're premiering the music video for album highlight "Salsa Xalel," a song that ponders our responsibility towards our children and the state we're leaving the world in for them.


Cissokho tells OkayAfirica that the video and song also could also be seen as a response to the horrible family separations happening at the US-Mexico border at the hands of the current U.S. government.

"Xalel means child in Wolof," Cissokho explains via his label Twelve | Eight Records. "This song asks what kind of world are we leaving for our children? What are they going to inherit from us? Are they softly singing us a song that we need to listen out for? They will soon be the musicians, the teachers, the presidents of this world. How can we show them the right way to live?"

"As for the music, my father always loved to sing and dance the salsa, and that always influenced me. In Senegal, we blend classic salsa with the most popular national dance music, mbalax, using local percussion instruments, koras, balafons, flutes, and traditional singing styles."

Watch our premiere of the new video for "Salsa Xalel" below and stream Routes underneath.

Routes is available everywhere now from Okaymusic.



News Brief

Akon Confirms Agreement For His New City In Senegal, 'Akon City'

It's official, Akon is developing a new city in Senegal.

Akon is developing his own city in Senegal.

The musician and entrepreneur confirmed the signing of the agreement for Akon City earlier this week in an Instagram post. "Just finalized the agreement for AKON CITY in Senegal. Looking forward to hosting you there in the future," he wrote.

Akon had previously talked about his plans to launch a "Crypto City" in Senegal which would run on his own cyptocurrency, AKoin.

He's also been working on initiatives like the Lighting Africa Project, which aims to bring electricity to homes in West Africa through solar power.

Akon explained his plans in more detail last year in an interview with Nick Cannon: ""It's all renewable, the Akon-tainment solar city," he mentions. "It's a 10-year building block so we're doing it in stages. We started construction in March and stage two is going to be 2025."

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News Brief
Image courtesy of NBA Africa.

Amadou Gallo Fall Named President of NBA's New Basketball Africa League

The Senegalese native, will lead the establishment of the NBA's newest league set to launch in 2020.

In February, it was announced that the NBA was establishing the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a new professional league based on the continent, in collaboration with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The new league will include 12 club teams from across the continent.

Ahead of its launch next year, it's been announced that NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall will act as President of the upcoming league.

Fall is a Senegalese native who began working with the NBA in 2010. "Amadou's efforts to grow basketball and the NBA's business across Africa have been extraordinary, and he is an ideal choice to lead the Basketball Africa League," said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. "This historic initiative will not only further enhance the game in Africa but also provide new opportunities in media, technology and infrastructure on the continent."

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The Gorillaz Enlist Fatoumata Diawara for New Track 'Désolé

A stunning collaboration that we didn't even know we needed.

The Gorillaz enlist none other than Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara for their latest single "Désolé," the second single from the hit-making British band's Song Machine installation project.

"Making Désolé with Fatou was a real moment for me, you know," the band's drummer Russel Hobbs is quoted as saying in a statement via Pitchfork. Désole translates to "sorry" in French, but despite it's apologetic title, the song is a laid-back groove, elevated by vocals from lead singer Damon Albarn and Diawara, who sings in English, French and Bambara.

"She's an African Queen," Russel adds. "This lady made the song what it is, beautiful, like life. What can I say about Désolé? They say sorry is the hardest word, but that's not true.... Try saying antidisestablishmentarianism with a mouth full of gluten free cronuts on a speed boat without licking your lips."

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Diamond Platnumz and Tanasha in "Gere" (Youtube)

The 7 Best East African Songs of the Month

Featuring Diamond Platnumz x Tanasha, Sauti Sol, Rayvanny, Sheebah, Victoria Kimani and more.

February has been dominated by familiar voices in East African music.

Here are our picks of the best East African songs of the month featuring Diamond Platnumz, Sheebah, Rayvanny and more.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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