Djembe

Xalam
(Senegal)

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Biography  
Xalam has been a very influential band who mixed American funk and jazz with African musical idiom. Sometimes referred to as Xalam 2, as they were inspired by earlier group by the name of Xalam, they started from 1969 or 1970, led by drummer Abdoulaye Prosper Niang and started with non-African dance music, performing in Senegal as well as in other African countries. In 1975, they toured with Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela. By then, they had relocated to Paris, where they realised that they had to find their own style, mixing African elements with funk and jazz. In 1979, Xalam participated in the Berlin Horizonte Festival, they recorded their first LP for the occasion. It was the start of a success story: from the Dakar Jazz Festival (1980), a soundtrack for a Walt Disney production (1981), various festival appearances in Europe (1982), an opening concert for Crosby, Stills Nash & Young in Paris (1983) to the recording of percussion tracks for the Rolling Stones album « Undercover of the Night » (1984). In the meantime, they had teamed up with pianist-keyboardist and arranger Jean-Philippe Rykiel.

Their best known albums, now hard to find, are from that creative era: « Gorée » (1983), « Apartheid » (1986) and « Xarit » (1988). In 1988 (according to various sources 1989), drummer and band leader Prosper Niang died of cancer, his death left the group discouraged. They continued nevertheless, with singer Seydina insa Wade and with a new international album release in 1993. Xalam remains active with occasional appearances and a new album is announced.


Some band members:
Souleymane Faye: lead vocals (1985-1988);
Seydina insa Wade († 2012): lead vocals (1988-1994);
Ibrahima Coundoul "Brams": lead vocals;
Cheikh Tidiane Tall: lead guitar;
Samba Yigo Dieng: guitar;
Taffa Cissé: percussion and vocals;
Abdoulaye Prosper Niang († 1988): drums;
Ansoumana Diatta: saxophone;
Yoro Gueye: trombone;
Henri Guillabert: keyboards;
Papa Moussa Babou "Baye": bass
Ablo Zon (born 1 June 1976, † 8 August 2016) drums, replacing Prosper Niang


Formed: 1970
Style: afro-jazz, afro-funk


Xalam
Xalam
Discography

Title Year Label Remarks
Live à Montreux 2008 Celluloid Montreux Jazz Festival recordings (1991)
Wam Sabindam 1993 Mélodie 79615-2 CD
Gëstú 1990 Senegalese cassette release
Xarit 1988 BMG / Jetset 209 009 cassette/LP/CD
Ndiguël 1987 Senegalese cassette release
Apartheid 1986 Celluloid / Encore ENC 134 (LP) / Encore 49334-2 (CD) LP/CD (CD re-released 2008)
Africa 1984 Production Xalam Cassette
Gorée 1983 Celluloid CEL 6656 (CD: 66656-2) LP
Adé 1979 Xalam Production XPS 001 LP, recorded at the Festival Horizonte in Berlin


Sources
Xalam website (www.xalam2dakar.com, retrieved 2005, website not online anymore)
Taffa Cissé
Lydia Gaertner's discography (retrieved from Geocities, now through Webarchive)
 
Page created October 2005

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