We are in for a treat: Senegalese mbalax superstar Pape Cheikh Diouf is coming to stages across the U.S. and in Canada this summer. For those not acquainted with mbalax, it is Senegal’s ebullient, high-octane Wolof dance music that is the marriage of rock, soukous and Latin pop with the indefatigable rhythms of traditional Serer sabar drumming. Youssou N’Dour, the international Senegalese musical icon, helped popularize the burgeoning musical form in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and is often referred to as something of an analog for the younger Pape Diouf, who has given new life to Dakar’s mbalax scene since the late ‘90s.
Diouf, who was born into a guewel (griot) family, got his start with the mbalax group Lemzo Diamono before going solo in 1998 and ascending to his current place at the heights of musical stardom in Dakar and beyond. He’s toured the world, driving stadiums of fans to dance in fiery mbalax style and sing along with his bright, catchy melodies. His most recent album, Rakkaaju, is a gem of a record. For North American denizens, catch the legend in person in July and August, with a tour beginning in our very own New York City on July 9 at the Cultural Building in Harlem (240 E. 123rd St.). There’s no doubt that it’ll be one hell of a show. For the rest of his tour, check out the schedule below.
Pape Cheikh Diouf 2016 North American Tour Dates
Sat., July 9: The Cultural Building, Harlem, NY
Sun., July 10: The Music Haven Concert Series, Schenectady, NY
Fri., July 15: Detroit, MI — TBA
Sat., July 16: Chicago, IL — TBA
Sun., July 17: Festival Fete de Marquette, Madison, WI
Mon., July 18: The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN
Fri., July 22: Cincinnati, OH — TBA
Sat., July 23, Atlanta, GA — TBA
Fri., July 29: RI — TBA
Sat., July 30: Washington, DC
Sat., Aug. 6: Montreal, QC
Sun., Aug. 7: ACANA Festival, Philadelphia, PA
For venue updates and ticket info, consult New African Production