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okay acoustic: Watch Baaba Maal Perform 'Kalaajo' and 'Mbaay Mbaay'

For our latest episode of okay acoustic, the Senegalese icon performs soothing renditions of two of his songs.

Senegalese legend Baaba Maal is largely known for his soaring voice and delicate acoustic compositions.

For his most recent album, The Traveller, Baaba Maal teamed up with producer Johan Hugo to create a modern combination of Fulani vocal melodies with electronic pop beats. Last year, the Senegalese star took a turn towards the film industry, essentially becoming 'the voice' of Wakanda for the highly-successful Black Panther movie and its soundtrack.

For our latest episode of okay acoustic, Baaba Maal performs soothing, stripped-down renditions of two of his songs, "Kalaajo" and "Mbaay Mbaay."

Watch below.

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Baaba Maal live. Photo: Adrian Boot.

Baaba Maal Takes His Classic Senegalese Sound Into the Jazz World

"I like to experiment with music. I never stand still," the Senegalese icon tells OkayAfrica in a new interview.

Baaba Maal is a living legend.

The 65-year-old Senegalese icon is largely known for his soaring voice and delicate acoustic compositions, but recent years have seen him take strides outside of that sonic world.

Three years ago Baaba Maal teamed up with producer Johan Hugo (of The Very Best) to release his his latest album, The Traveller, which featured a modern combination of Fulani vocal melodies with electronic pop beats and, even, instances of auto-tune. That same year also saw him record an EP alongside Mumford & Sons, The Very Best and South African pop group Beatenberg.

Last year, the Senegalese star took a turn towards the film industry, essentially becoming 'the voice' of Wakanda for the highly-successful Black Panther movie and its Academy Award-winning soundtrack, by Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson.

Now, Baaba Maal is embarking on another musical exploration: taking his classic Senegalese sound into the world of Western jazz and teaming up with the Town Hall Ensemble, led by Steven Bernstein, for a one-of-a-kind performance.

For his first New York City performance in eight years, Baaba Maal and the Town Hall Ensemble will be translating the sounds of the kora into horns for a wholly original new sound. We spoke with the Senegalese star about his preparation and the idea behind this new concert.

Read our interview below.

Baaba Maal will be performing with the Town Hall Ensemble on May 4 in NYC. You can purchase tickets here.

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Sam Smith, Alabama Shakes & More Sing Along To Baaba Maal's 'Lampenda' In This New Video

Senegalese legend Baaba Maal's latest video for "Lampenda" is innovative and fun.

Senegalese music legend Baaba Maal’s latest video for “Lampenda” is a lot of fun.

The new clip is a montage of different people singing along to the song, all while holding an iPhone video of lips over their mouths.

According to the video’s director Johan Karlberg, the idea started as a joke, as he, Maal and Seye were fooling around a few years ago.

“It was just us having a laugh, messing around in studio,” says Karlberg. “So when we started to talk about doing a video for ‘Lampenda,’ I suggested we did that a bit more properly, and just film a bunch of people we hang out with for the next month.”

The director filmed Maal’s mouth singing the song and had the clip on his phone wherever he went. “Our friend Dave East also had it on his phone, and we both filmed a bunch of people that way,” says Karlberg.  

You’ll spot the likes of Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes and Sam Smith, among other musicians, holding iPhone lips against their mouths while singing along to “Lampenda.” It's both innovative and uplifting—and you shouldn't miss out on it. 

The single appears on the special new edition of Baaba Maal’s latest album The Traveller, which will feature four new songs.

Watch the video above and stream or buy The Traveller (Special Edition) here.

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Baaba Maal: 10 Things I Love About Senegal

From the Pink Lake to wrestling, Senegalese legend Baaba Maal shares the 10 things he loves the most about Senegal.

In our “10 Things I Love” series we ask our favorite musicians, artists & personalities to tell us what they like the most about their home country.

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