I have become interested in different West African cultures – while I was a student in Tunis.

While we were students there – we got to meet many other students and their families from Mauritania, Senegal, Chad, Niger amongst others – there was no end to the cultural evenings, parties, discussions – especially during those Ramadan nights. The stories went from person to person – there was almost a rhythm to it – after a while one didn’t even realise who was doing the talking – all that one needed is a sip of tea – that seem to have started the stories that continued through the night.

I hope I will get the chance to discover more of the cultures and music of these places – for now here is a selection of videos as an introduction to this land that fuses Arabic scales, Afro-Cuban cultures, and much more … :

The film “Nyama”by Sol Productions :

“A documentary film in the works, Nyama explores the links between traditional West African griot music and hip hop in Africa and throughout the West. ” (See other Sol Productions videos here.)

Baaba Maal is one if my favourite musicians – watching his Palm World Voices documentary – taught me about the same essential lessons as the ones I learnt from the Calcutta trio – it is your responsibility to discover your true talents, search for your teachers and never abandon your studies since it takes a life time (or two) to acquire the knowledge that enables you to excel in what you do.

Here is the trailer – buy the DVD and CDs here:

In this next podcast Baaba talks about his home town, Podor, where the different cultures of Senegal, Mauritania, and the cultures of the Maghreb came together to create a fusion that is an amazing example of how we all influence each others cultures and traditions in so many ways without even noticing it.