(or Mbaw) is a singer, composer and acoustic guitar
player from Ziguinchor, the capital
of the Casamance region in the south of Senegal. Although it was foreseen that he would be a craftsmen like his father,
he chose to be musician instead and despite all difficulties, he stood by this choice. After encouragements by
he was enrolled in a traditional music course at the Conservatory in Dakar
and learnt to play the acoustic guitar at the same time. In 1994, he went to Paris for the first time for a contest
organised by UNESCO. He came back to Paris a few times before settling permanently and made a living singing in the
Parisian underground railway, accompanying himself with his guitar. His voice and talent have been recognised and he was
asked to contribute a song on a sampler CD of subway musicians, titled
« Correspondances »
, compiled in 2003 by the underground railway authority
By then, he had already a record deal and a first album out.
This first album by Cherif, « Kham Kham »
, has been very well received,
and is offering a mix of mbalax and folk, with tinges of flamenco, classical music and
Indian music. There are guest appearances from Indian and Cuban musicians (Omar Sosa), and the song
« Doomu Adama »
is a refreshing duet with British singer Carmel McCourt.
Cherif succeeded more than many others in mixing this variety of styles.