“Baaba Maal opened his mouth and beautiful pearls and lilies and songbirds came flying out. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen” Michael Stipe
In West Africa, Europe and the world-music scene, the beloved Senegalese singer-songwriter Baaba Maal is a superstar. In 2009, Maal returns to international stages with the release of Television, a brilliant yet subtle blend of West African pop with the emerging sound of global electronica, and featuring guest appearances from members of the New York-based electro-pop group The Brazilian Girls. The enigmatically named title-track refers to the relatively recent phenomenon in Africa of ubiquitous TV screens. ‘The television set is like a stranger you didn’t ask for coming into your living-room,’ explains Baaba. ‘You don’t care about who he is: he just seems to come from nowhere and gives you information.’ On the tune ‘Song For Women,’ Baaba explains ‘I use that song to talk about how women can be much more powerful in Africa, which can be really helpful for the entire continent. We should encourage that, and I sing about it to give them more power.’
As he has made clear, Baaba Maal’s mission in West Africa extends beyond his music. He is committed to the concerns of families, young people and the future of the continent, as is reflected in his role as Youth Emissary for the United Nations’ Development Programme, about which he says: ‘It strengthens my determination to work harder to contribute more to improving the living conditions of disadvantaged people of the African continent, especially young people, whose future is seriously threatened by illiteracy, poverty and HIV/AIDS. When I am talking about Africa, it is about how Africa will grow into the new millennium. This is why I really wanted to make music, so people can listen more to the music and the messages I am talking about.’
His image of uplifting the African continent has long driven Baaba Maal. To this end, in 2003 he played the Nelson Mandela 46664 Concert in Cape Town in South Africa; and the next year he performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, for Dr Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmental campaigner who won that year’s Peace Prize. In 2007, he played at the African Union heads of state summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and also performed at the Live Earth Concert in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In another field altogether, in 2008 Baaba Maal created the soundtrack for the Playstation and X-Box game, Far Cry 2; at the beginning of the decade he had fulfilled the same function, working with Hans Zimmer, for the Oscar-winning Ridley Scott movie, Black Hawk Down.
"I think the musician’s role is to give advice, to warn people, and to make them aware of what they might not have thought of themselves. We use melodies and harmonies to make songs enter your mind." (Baaba Maal)
"The music they made…was magnificent: hypnotic and galvanizing, uplifting and visceral." (The New York Times)
"So cooly 21st century. A sublime, fully realised success" (The Independent on Sunday)
"Baaba Maal is one of the finest singers in the world." (The Guardian)
Tickets are on sale now from the Cedar Ticketline (612-338-2674 ext 2), Cedar outlets, and online at Ticketweb.
STANDING ROOM ONLY (We will accommodate people with special needs).
This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota.