The Kennedy Center

Yoro Ndiaye



Biography

At an early age, Mayoro “Yoro” Ndiaye used to hide in his father’s joinery workshop to create his own hand-made guitars. He spent time with local musicians in Mbacke, his hometown in Senegal, which provided him with a solid knowledge about the basics of music. From 1993 to 1995, while attending university, he was lead vocalist for the regional orchestra of Diourbel. As his love for music grew, Yoro decided to pursue music full time and dropped out of school one year before graduating to begin his solo career. Performing with only his guitar, he travelled throughout Senegal, playing mainly for cultural events at schools where he built a significant fan base. In 2000, Yoro moved to Dakar where he worked for the Club Med Hotel as an instructor and performed every Tuesday for three years. In 2002, he released the song “Africa” on the first Senegalese folk music compilation, Senegal Folk, which included national celebrities like Souleymane Faye and Pape Niang. Yoro’s voice also appeared on the track “Senegal Dou Fi Yem,” in tribute to the national football team. In 2003, Yoro caught the attention of Youssou N’dour who booked him as his supporting act during his performances at Thiossane and other venues in Senegal. He was also invited to join the tour of Les Frères Guissé.  In 2004, Yoro and his group Le Yoon Wi (The Way) released six tracks from their first album, Beug Dèm (Dreams of Leaving) in Senegal.  In 2005, the full album of 11 tracks was released as Bêgg Dem on Ethnoworld Music in Italy, and was distributed in Germany, France and Spain. In 2006, another seven tracks were released in Senegal under the title Nittou Nitt (Friend of a Man) and the song “Xarit” was proclaimed “Hit of the Year.”  Yoro performed nightly at the top jazz clubs in Paris for nine months in 2007, followed by an extended tour of 24 schools in Dakar. Yoro’s popularity grows daily, and he is considered by his peers to be a leader of the new generation of Senegalese music.  His performances in venues and festivals throughout western Africa and Europe continue to draw large audiences. In 2009, Yoro signed with New African Production for distribution, promotion, and touring in the U.S.
Yoro Ndiaye