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Baaba Maal and the Senegalese Kingdom of Music

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Cellist Adrian Brendel steps outside his comfort zone and travels to Senegal for a music festival organised by legendary guitarist Baaba Maal. The music, a haunting mélange of Arabic and African with jazz and R&B influences, is made more compelling by the stories behind the songs that reflect West Africa’s history of religious and political upheaval.

Baaba Maal is now a UN Ambassador, held in reverential respect, but he remains a passionate spokesman for fellow artists like those in neigbouring Mali where extreme Sharia law has seen music banned completely.


Cellist Adrian Brendel travels to the Blues du Fleuve festival, held in a remote location by the Senegal River, to share his passion for music with artists from Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. The annual event is organised by musician Baaba Maal, who chats to Adrian about his alarm at the political upheaval in Mali and his sadness that music has been banned as part of the repressive regime.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Adrian Brendel
Producer Kate Bland


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