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Preview: An Evening With Baaba Maal

Kay Chinn |
October 4, 2011 | 10:03 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

World-renowned Senegalese musician Baaba Maal is ready to showcase his fiery vocal performances and extraordinary life experiences to USC on Saturday night.

"I think it's important for you guys to listen to our point of view about Africa," Maal said.

A true star from the African continent, Maal has been performing for nearly 20 years around the world. He sings, composes, plays acoustic guitar and percussion, presenting an amazing fusion of Western elements with African traditions. His work has an impressive African style with flavors of pop music. 

Meanwhile, he also passionately addresses numerous social issues in Africa, such as education and women's rights.

He said he planned to perform at USC since last year and he quite looked forward to sharing his stories with the audience.

"It's how we do it in Africa. We don't perform music just to entertain people to get money, but we do music because music inspires our life," Maal said. "When we finished all our work, we sat down, we played music, we talked about what we learned from life. And that's the source of inspirations of our songs. That's what I want to share on the stage."

Born in Podor, on the edge of the Senegal River, Maal was supposed to follow in his father's footsteps and become a fisherman. Music was never meant to be in his future. But he managed to learn music from his mother and the school headmaster. Later, he got into college and went for postgraduate study in Paris.

According to Maal, the younger generation inspired him to overcome all the obstacles. “The generation grows up, and they want a lot of things," he said.

Maal truly believes that his success relies on what he has acquired from his home and now he does what he can to give back.

He is youth emissary for UN, he supports women’s rights and advocates democracy, he is also an ambassador of Nelson Mandela’s HIV/AIDS fighting program.

He credits his influences from his national country as a time when “people get to know you,” therefore, he feels that he has to “bring something back to where you come from.”

Eager to introduce a new Africa to the world, Maal is calling's people's attention: “Africa is moving forward. [It's] very modernized, with new elements.”

Through the rich context of his music, Baaba Maal is able to convey his life experiences and passions like never before.

Baaba Maal will perform this Saturday at USC's Bovard Auditorium, 8 p.m. Purchase tickets here.

Reach Reporter Kay here.

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