Baaba Maal’s [BA-ba Marl] daring and dazzling new album, Being has received praise and attention around the world. When it was announced at the beginning of 2023, “Yerimayo Celebration” became the rousing first glimpse from the record. Its melding of traditional African sounds and imagery with Johan Karlberg’s digital experimentation producing a call and response between ancient and modern, set the tone for Being. Now Baaba Maal has released a new video for the track, directed by David Albury and Omri Dagan - Click to Watch.
Featuring regular collaborators including Cheikh Ndoye on bass ngoni and Momadou Sarr on percussion, it is a glorious, positive percussion-heavy celebration of music and how in troubled times it can open the mind and hearts and fight cynicism and chaos.
“Yerimayo Celebration” paid tribute to Baaba’s father, a fisherman by profession. Baaba says, “It celebrates the engagement the fishermen have with their environment, which supports them, and which they must support and look after. Because of my family, I was destined to be a fisherman but I took a different direction. But I still identify with the fisherman and the harmony they achieve in their lives, the way they are natural travelers and in their own way entertainers, seeing many people pass by and learning from them. I am as alert to the beauty of nature and climate change and the way water works, reorganizing the land, as if I was spending my days fishing. I wanted to write a song where I march alongside them, committed to a kind of balance in life that nourishes the soul, to protecting the environment and therefore the future. The song is a celebration of how much being born into a family of fishermen has influenced my song writing.”
The video transposes Baaba from the banks of the Senegal River to the Thames, where the theme of protection and use of water follows his travels around the city, carefully protecting an ice cube as others use it wastefully, until he eventually returns the water to the river.
This theme of the importance of the flow and access to water is underlined by his appointment last month as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, expanding on his work as a Land Ambassador with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). His home in Senegal is at the front line of climate change and desertification and he is an activist force as President of the Naan-K Trust developing solar irrigation projects in his hometown of Podor. His work as a songwriter feeds into his thinking as a principled social reformer and in turn his work as a crusading community leader feeds into his songs. Being a performer and being a UN Goodwill Ambassador, writing a great uplifting new melody and promoting climate change education, are all part of his drive to help make Senegal, Africa and the world a better, fairer, more connected and collaborative place.
Being - released on Marathon Artists
Freak Out (featuring The Very Best)
Boboyillo (featuring Rougi)
Mbeda Wella (featuring Paco Lenol)