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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Akon’s dad gave me my first break – Baaba Maal

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Speaking on a current tour of East Africa, Maal said: “Yes, I’m connected to Akon’s family. We grew up together in the same village. I was a guest at one of the parties and actually Akon’s father was the first one who took my band and I to the US on tour. I respect what Akon does. He calls me uncle.”

Asked whether there is any chance that he would work with the Smack That hitmaker, he said, “Maybe, that could happen in the future.”

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Maal’s single Hunger was a soundtrack in the Oscar-winning movie Black Hawk Down that starred Hollywood stars Josh Hartnett and Ewan McGregor.

“Recording this soundtrack was a different experience from my usual recording for an album. I had to bring out emotion in the song and try different things. Like I was asked to scream, that is something I have never done even on stage. But when I was recording I wanted to bring out the real emotion that will tell the Somalia story, bring the African side of the movie out,” he said.

Maal was in Nairobi for the Koroga Festival held at the Arboretum Gardens on Father’s Day. He joined Kenyan Afro fusion bigwigs including Aaron Rimbui, Eric Wainaina, Chris Adwar and The Villagers Band.

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“I’m always happy to return to Nairobi. This is my third time in the city and every time I’m back, I love the experience,” Maal said of his stay in Nairobi during the interview at Hotel Intercontinental.

  The Star, Kenya


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