Senegalese music star, cultural warrior, United Nations Ambassador and Grammy nominee Baaba Maal releases his much awaited 11th album The Traveller via Marathon Artists on January 15th 2015.
The Traveller was recorded in both London and Senegal and was produced by Johan Hugo from The Very Best. The record includes Winston Marshall of Mumford & Sons, who met Baaba Maal at his annual music festival Blues Du Fleuve in Fouta, Northern Senegal.
The album is a blend of African roots and more contemporary electronic influences all beautifully woven together at varying tempos, and carrying different messages for the listener. The Traveller opens with the raucous Fulani Rock, underpinned by dark throbbing drums, intricate guitars and Baaba Maal’s distinctive vocal soaring overhead, carrying messages for his people: ‘Language is a weapon. I’m not using it to destroy but to build bridges and bring people together. I am a messenger of the people so everyone’s voice can be heard. Other standout tracks are the beautiful One Day and Gilli Men, both resplendent with glistening guitars, velvet-sounding tom-toms, soft strings and Baaba Maal’s voice gently echoing against a backdrop of rapturous, layered backing vocals, which tell us to both ‘Pursue your own excellence,’ and ‘Feed your soul’. Unsurprisingly, for an artist who uses music as a medium to spread important messages to his people and beyond, the album closes with two songs War and Peace. Both feature powerful spoken word poetry by Lemn Sissay, official poet of the 2012 Olympics and recently appointed Chancellor of The University of Manchester.
Baaba Mall comments on the album ‘Working with Johan, I feel we have achieved a new mix of sensibilities and sounds that can’t be put in a box. The Traveller defines how I feel about the planet, that despite its many problems, there is a lot of inspiration, and hope and beauty’.
The release of The Traveller on 15 January 2016, is complemented by a six-piece which tours the UK, stopping off at Manchester Academy following a headline date at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Baaba Maal performs at Manchester Academy 2 on Saturday 23 January.
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