Baaba Maal with Classixx and Brazilian Girls

Sound in Focus Concerts
PAST EVENT: Sat, Jul 16, 2016



It was almost inevitable that Baaba Maal would one day call an album The Traveller, because for the Senegalese veteran travel and music are inextricable. The singer and guitarist belongs to the semi-nomadic Fulani people. He first left his homeland of Fouta, in the river valley region of northern Senegal, almost 40 years ago, to perform music hundreds of miles away as a teenage boy scout and he has been a wanderer ever since. “It’s part of my culture,” he says. “The songs travel from village to village, from country to country. It’s something natural to my tribe and this part of Africa.”

Born into a large family of fishermen in the Fouta town of Podor in 1953, Baaba studied music in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and Paris, and embarked on a two-year musical pilgrimage around west Africa with his friend Mansour Seck. He then recorded albums with Seck, including the desert blues classic Djam Leelii and the band Daande Lenol (The Voice of the People). Since the 1980s, he has released several solo albums, toured the world many times, worked with Hans Zimmer on the soundtrack to Black Hawk Down and collaborated with the likes of Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Tony Allen and U2. Despite his international perspective, he has always acknowledged his roots by singing in Pulaar, the Fulani dialect of the Senegal River valley. Baaba’s work is a modern twist on the West African tradition of the griot: the storytelling troubadour.

The Traveller’s themes of communication, reconciliation and responsibility chime with Baaba’s work as an activist who has campaigned for women’s rights, HIV/AIDS awareness, debt relief, climate issues and education. He is a Youth Emissary for the United Nations Development Program and a global ambassador for Oxfam. For Baaba Maal, music and activism are interwined because they are both about building bridges and encouraging mutual understanding. The Traveller pulls all the strands of his life together in one glittering tapestry.

Music comes naturally to L.A. duo Classixx, childhood friends who began recording together in 2007, united by their mutual appreciation for shimmering melody, punk rock, disco and French house. When Classixx DJ, they do so with exceptional comprehension, a clear affinity for the music they play. There’s a kinship between the songs they select and their own original works, at once beaming, breezy and wistful, descendent from similarly pop-minded melancholics like Fleetwood Mac, Prince and Alan Braxe.

The Annenberg Foundation and KCRW‘s Sound in Focus summer concert series is back for 2016! RSVP for three free, all-ages concerts at Century Park in Century City. Our exhibits REFUGEE and New Americans will also be open with extended hours during each concert, so make plans to visit the Annenberg Space for Photography and Skylight Studios before the performers take the stage.


REFUGEE explores the lives of refugees from a host of diverse populations dispersed and displaced throughout the world.

Learn More


Century Park
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067


You May Also Like