was born in Bamako but her family came originally from Kita. Her father
was a state nurse and her mother a midwife.
Always painfully shy, Djénéba Seck found in the theatre the means to
overcome timidity. Unlike most of our artist, she was encouraged by
her parents to mix with the local artistic and cultural groups in her
area; they surely had an inkling of her hidden talent!
In no time at all, she who was so shy showed herself to be an excellent
performer, she won the prize for best soloist in the region in 1984
and she performed with the regional group during Mali's artistic and
cultural biennale. Soon she put down her school pen and took to the
1986 Sékou Kouyaté
(who was one of those who encouraged her) created his own musical group
and engaged Djénéba Seck to sing backing vocals. Her serious approach
to her work and her authentic voice helped to mark her out as one of
the most reliable voices in Malian music. When Mali's TV station began
broadcasting, the group recorded N'kadignon yé" a hit song which swamped
the arways. This phase was short lived for Sékou
Kouyaté, who was both leader of the orchestra and the lead
singer, went back to France in 1989.
from being discouraged, Djénéba Seck rehearsed with the Bamako group
Bama Saba (the three Caymans). She took part in a recording
commissioned by Ana Heather, an American working for the Peace
Corps which was designed to create awareness about diarrhoeal illnesses.
In 1991, the wind of change blew across the continent.
by Abdoulaye Traoré, known as "Warren", Djénéba Seck recorded
hers first single in studio Oubien in Bamako (now Studio
Bogolan). For a debut recording, this turned out to be
"Kankéléntiguya" an album made to measure, imposes itself like a hymn
for Mali's transition to democracy. For one year, Djénéba Seck reigned
supreme at the top for Malian hit parade.
1995, she prepared her second album "Kounkanko Kononni" and when it
was released the following year, it sold more copies than anyone could
1997, Djénéba Seck accepted an invitation by "Mali kounafoni", a newspaper
for Malians living in France and Ibrahima Sylla invited her to
record a medley "Grobinées" alongside Sona Tata Diabaté, Hadja
Maningé… Djénéba fully justifies her position as an outsider, always
searching for greater nuance and richness in her musical compositions.
signed a contract with Syllart productions. Her new album, "Djourou"
(credit, capital) which appeared in July 1999 showed a new spirit as
Djénéba Seck found her inspiration in the daily life of her compatriots.
Her philosophy, her authentic voice and the mastery of her art afford
great pleasure to her fans.
months after the release of her album “Djourou”, Djénéba
Seck received us and told us about her album, her music and her projects.
Djourou is an astonishing album that confirms the talent of the artist
although she changes her producer after each album.
Mag : A word has a meaning only when it is placed in a context,
what does “Djourou” means?
Djénèba Seck : “Djourou”
is the capital, the loan don’t we use to say that we harvest what
we have sowed?
it’s true, have you harvested what you have sowed ?
Yes because I’m called for concerts every where in the country
and also outside since the release of “Djourou”. Unfortunately,
we didn’t manage to gather all that come to us because of the
piracy. God sees everything and one day, the loan will be paid.
May God hear you ! “Kankelétiguya”,
“Kounkanko Kononi” and now “Djourou” have all
had a real success, what is your secret?
I love what I’m doing, there’s no secret, the only secret
is work, when a work is done well, it is always rewarded. My first album
was produced by Assirou Saïbou production in 1992 and the contract
was for only one album, it’s the result of this work that pushed
Camara K7 to propose me a contract for production. After that, I signed
with Syllart production Africando for this album. I believe in God and
he’s the one who pay what I’ve sown.
What is the difference between Djourou and the other albums?
The first album permitted me to make myself known of every body, we
gave more rhythm to the second in order to differ from the first. The
third permitted to keep the assets. The second difference lay in the
difference of the production firms and I’m really satisfied with
the arrangements of Djourou.
Stars rarely change of production firm, what pushed you
to do it ?
The coincidences in the meeting. After “ Kankeletiguya”
, Gagny Camara invited me for some concerts in France. At the end of
the contract, he proposed me to produce my next album ”Kounkanko
kononi“ because I haven’t got any contract with some one
After, it was the turn of Ibrahima Sylla who is known of everybody,
he first invited me for meddley (featuring) Grobinée and then
came Djourou. The promotion is a determining factor in my decision because
there is no need to make an album if the promotion is not properly assured.
What does your music bring to you ?
It first permitted me to overcome my timidity and I make a living on
it and to finish, I feel useful for the society because all my songs
are based on the observation of social avants.
Today, which mention can be given to Malian music ?
Good but… it’s progressing but we must continue to work
and they should hep us to fight piracy. Without incomes, there’s
no music. Music is commercial so it’s important that producers,
distributors and artists win enough otherwise…
What are your immediate projects ?
My album is on the market for only ten months and I go on making the
promotion. I’m in contact with tours makers for concert outside
of the country. I’ve also composed three songs on Sékou
Kouyaté’s album which will be released soon.