Baaba Maal [BA-ba Marl]  and his daring and dazzling new album, ‘Being’, will be released on March 31st, 2023. 

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The record is a powerful continuation of his pioneering, transcendent work over the last forty years, blending the ancient and the modern, the acoustic and the electronic. Extending his productive partnership with producer and multi-instrumentalist Johan Karlberg (Self Esteem, The Very Best, Santigold), his first album since 2016’s The Traveller, ‘Being’ was recorded in Brooklyn, London and Senegal and confirms Maal as one of the most uniquely compelling and constantly surprising musicians in the world.

Baaba and his extraordinary band will also be performing at the Barbican in London, the first time in 20 years at the venue, on May 30th, 2023. Pre-order the album from Bandcamp and fans can access the artist pre-sale for tickets from Monday (December 5th).

The rousing first track from the album is released today, ‘Yerimayo Celebration’, an introduction to a collection of songs that sees Baaba calling for people to both honour tradition and deal with new technology as they face up to a rapidly changing, challenging world. 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.

‘Being’ is the latest stage in the development of a highly distinctive, ecstatically melodic sound that ingeniously fuses traditional African instruments and rhythms with a dramatically modern electronic approach. It’s a set of confrontational and contemplative stories where Maal mixes evocative, personal local concerns with grand universal themes to produce a unique form of deep, immersive soul music, taking the listener to new places via his birthplace of Podor, Senegal, where his music always begins, and his travels always end.

However far I travel, whatever direction, I will always return home,” Baaba says. “It is the nomadic nature. To wander, but to return home, eventually. Home is where you start from, where you begin to learn what really matters, and home is where you finish. Podor is the perfect place for me when I need some time to think, to see my music with a fresh eye, to surprise it, snare it, catch it unawares as if coming across it for the first time.


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