El Hadj N'Diaye


El Hadj N'Diaye is a Senegalese songwriter, composer and performer who sings in Wolof and French. He is the son of a Dialo father from Cassamance, in southern Senegal, and a mother from the northern river region of Matam. He used to earn his living as a cola nut vendor at the Thiaroye market, but went on to study economics at Cheikh Anta Diop's University, in Dakar, and was also an actor in two films by Ousmane Sembene, "Camp de Thiaroye" and "Guelwar," and for a young Senegalese filmmaker. For his debut in "Thiaroye," he was awarded a Choc du Monde de la Musique award in France. He also appeared in "Karmen Gei," Joseph Gaye Ramaka's comic remake of the Bizet opera, "Carmen," set in Senegal.

NÆDiaye combines art with activism, singing about official corruption, torture victims in the Cassamance struggle, the troubles of the disenfranchised Tuareg people in northern Mali, and the forgotten shadow people who inhabit Senegal's poorest districts. He currently directs arts activities for a non-government organization called Environment, Development and Action (ENDA). He calls his division, Siggi ENDA Art, "siggi" being the Wolof for "lift up your head."

Musically, his songs range from searing solo voice to poignant acoustic ballads, and the energized bustle of Senegal's signature Afropop style, mbalax. His musical textures are as varied as his themes, incorporating the wooden slatted balafon of the Mande griots, the crack of djembe drums, and the fury of rock guitar.

Default Profile