Audio

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.



Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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