Baaba Maal to bring Africa to Olympics

2012-05-14 21:55

Wodobere - Senegalese singer Baaba Maal has announced plans to show the world all "Africa has that is beautiful" during the Olympic Games in Britain in the summer.

"People have given me a a responsibility that is imminent. During the Olympic Games in London (from 27 July until 12 August), there will be five platforms that represent the five continents," Maal, 58, said in a weekend interview at Wodebere in northeast Senegal while on tour.

"For the African continent, I shall work with the South Bank" cultural complex at the heart of Britain's capital "to present everything that Africa has that is beautiful," he told AFP.

Big names

According to the singer, who has been touring in partnership with the charity Oxfam to promote the fight against food shortages in the Sahel, the games will provide an occasion to show "what Africa has to offer, in terms of fashion, music, debate, literature, dance and technology - something that everybody can make their own".

"There are many artists who will be present," he added.

Among the big names on Africa's musical scene, artists include Angelique Kidjo from Benin and Mali's Oumou Sangare, with the Senegalese rapper and producer Didier Awadi, as well as "many young people who will come from just about everywhere in the English-speaking countries".

Senegalese poet Amadou Lamine Sall, the spiritual heir of Senegal's first president and poet, Leopold Sedar Senghor, will also take part.

Baaba Maal was born in a fishing family in Podor in the northern Fouta region. He studied in his homeland and then in France, where he took lessons at the Conservatory of Music, before returning to Senegal and forming his own group, Daande Lenol ("The Voice of the People" in the Peul language).

He has made several albums (Taara, Baayo, Lam Toro, Firin' in Fouta, Nomad Soul, Missing You and Television), working with artists from many different backgrounds.