Djénéba Seck  

Djénéba Seck 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 stage.

In 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.

Far 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.

Encouraged 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 a triumph.
"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.

In 1995, she prepared her second album "Kounkanko Kononni" and when it was released the following year, it sold more copies than anyone could have predicted.

In 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.

She 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.

Malick T. Konaté

Ten 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?

If 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 else.
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.