Senegal and Gambia are popular in North West African region for their famous, national dancing music known as Mbalax. It is also known as Mbalakh. The synthetic touch of western jazz, soul and rock and the admixture of Sabar the traditional drumming makes this so chromatic and melodious. The name is given due to the heavy use of the rhythms called mbalax.
Mbalax got flourished in Senegal in the 1970s when Senegalese musician who were already instigated by ‘back to the roots’ philosophy of Afrocentric began to mix their sounds with traditional Senegalese music and fabricated new sounds. They started to sing in their national language ‘Wolof’ and this way it gave birth to a new national musical trend. The indigenous sabar drum was become the main musical instrument and this was largely admired in the public. The body movements with the vocalization of Sabar further beautified it.
Mbalax nowadays has become more modernized with the usage of keyboards, synths and other electronic musical equipment. The pop musicians are also following Jazz, Funk, Latin and Congolese styles. Mbalax dancing is also a fundamental part of the festive occasion and social gathering these days. It is specially adopted by the Wolof youth.
Mbalax is universally understandable as it is having modern and traditional glimpses in it. Its unique style and exotic rhythms forces the listener to move to Senegal and experience it with the local musicians!