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Written by Administrator on Thursday, 29 January 2009 12:11   

A group of friends who share a passion for music, the members of Waflash grew up together in a town called Thiés, approximately 70 miles east of Dakar, the capital of Senegal. In 1988, while they were still in school, Senegal experienced a crisis in which students went on strike to demand better materials for their studies. As a result, many students did not go to school that year. This became an opportunity for the members of Waflash to focus their attention on music. The group was formed in 1990 and they recorded their first demo. DJ Michael Soumah, of Dakar FM radio, introduced them to the Senegalese public, and from there they began playing at concerts, festivals and clubs all over West Africa. After the official release of their first album, "Yoon wi", in 1996, Waflash became a great hope for the region of Thiés and one of the most well-respected groups in Senegal. That album was followed by "Prosper" (1999), "Gotel" (2001) and "Gorgui" (2002). In 2003, their collaboration with American musician Ken Stringfellow produced two CDs, "Mappando" and "Bella Casa". In 2005 they released "Yow nit", and then their first live CD/DVD, "Anniversaire", in 2006. Currently, the band is working with Kavall Records, a French label, to release a CD for the international market.

In a country where mbalax remains the dominant music, the collective vision of these childhood friends from Thiés, the city famously known for its railroad intersections, puts Waflash at the forefront of Senegalese music. Artfully blending African and Western musical genres, their sound reflects a broad range of influences such as Senegalese mbalax and bougarabou, soul, jazz, Afrobeat and more. Their songs speak to the themes of love, environment, women's issues, and a united Africa. The group's presentation is made even more lively with innovative choreography and artful attire. The band's lead singer, Masane, is already considered one of the greatest female artists Senegal has ever produced. She represents a new generation of African women singers who aspire to break through the restrictions of traditional social roles and a male-dominated industry. At the age of 33, Masane has the stage presence and polished appearance of an experienced performer. Her music is clearly inspired by the R&B, hip-hop and radio pop that have globalized her generation, yet her voice is genuine and she remains true to her Senegalese roots.

Since proving their universal appeal, Waflash has toured the Continent from Algeria to South Africa, as well as Europe, including France, Italy, Germany, England and Switzerland. In 2006, they represented Senegal at the summit of French-speaking nations held in Bucharest, Romania. Yet another European tour in 2007 included the Selam African festival in Stockholm, Sweden. In April 2008, they toured Spain, France and Switzerland, and have been playing in Germany and France since November 2008.

But the group's ambition is not limited to releasing CDs and organizing concerts. In December 2007, they founded the Palais des Arts (Palace of Arts) in their native city of Thiés – a "concert-café" comprised of a concert hall, restaurant, bar, cyber café, and exhibition space – where they perform, invite other groups and host a variety of artistic and cultural events.


 

 

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