In Dakar, during a night time power cut, we met up in total darkness (very surreal!) with musician Pap Guissé who that night invited us to visit the idyllic and peaceful village of Ndem where he’s from (about 4 or 5 hours drive from Dakar) to record village members and followers of the Baye Fall faith, a Senegalese sect of Islam founded in the late 19th Century. While there we recorded the brilliant kora player Kounta Dieye, and both fellow villagers Narr Fall and Bouya Ngom playing their locally crafted drums; even the village kids joined us with a mega-clapping jam!
Featured in a BBC news story, Ndem has a fascinating recent history. To avoid an exodus to the cities, the village spiritual guide Serigne Babacar Mbow and his French wife Aisha worked incredibly hard to turn the very arid land into a beautiful oasis, they encouraged the villagers to learn craft skills and then launched the successful eco-friendly hand-made clothing company Maam Samba. We were humbled by their hospitality and in awe of their achievement.
Check out the village info here www.ndem.info and the Facebook page of their Maam Samba brand.
Massive thanks to Cori from I-Science for the introduction.