First and foremost, happy New Year 2014! Wishing you all a wonderful and fulfilling year!! Quite a memorable New Year’s Eve in Dakar, watching impromptu fireworks from the top floor of my residence…
 
I’ve been meaning to post this dance video for quite some time now. November 2013 was the month I re-discovered Baaba Maal (I was at 2 of his concerts in Dakar!). His name may resonate with some. For world music fans, especially Senegalese traditional music and the sabar dance, Youssou N’Dour and Baaba Maal are certainly the most popular.
 
I learnt about the first concert, the morning of the event. Needless to say finding a ticket was not an easy task…It was worth the effort even though I was exhausted in the end – a 9pm concert started 3 hours later and Baaba Maal was not on stage before 1am! I had plenty to regale my senses in the meantime -  fans were in their finest attire - boubous (flowing wide sleeved robes), head wraps, gold jewelry... quite a feast for my eyes and ears! And they were singing and dancing along with the guest artists. That evening was most definitely a nice welcome to Senegal for me!
Fans exchanging few words with Baaba Maal on stage

 
Three weeks later, I was invited to the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps in Senegal (& new volunteers were taking oath of service at that same event). I was not expecting to see any performance as we were planning on leaving at a reasonable time (i.e. before midnight) but I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised! Other artists that performed that evening (on time!) and worth checking out: Alibeta & Nomads, and Ngaari Laaw. They had the audience on their feet and dancing all night. Fun times!
 
So here are the videos of Baaba Maal and Youssou N’Dour - I’ve been having all sorts of technical issues with uploading my videos til I’ve found these ones on youtube – enjoy! 

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Maryse is a Canadian-born to Togolese parents and she grew up in Lomé from age 5 to 17. After that, she went to college in Montreal and graduated of Business Administration from HEC Montreal. Maryse is a Director in Transaction Services at PwC Montreal with 12 years of in-depth experience in financial due diligence for mergers and acquisitions transactions, project management and auditing for the private sector. From 2007 to 2011, she has successfully completed two long-term assignments within PwC (Boston, USA and Milan, Italy). She is a Chartered Professional Accountant (Quebec) and she holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Maryse has been exposed to development issues through her childhood in Togo and her involvement with CAUSE Canada, an international relief and development agency. She wishes to use her skills to contribute to sustainable development efforts. She strongly believes that one effective way to alleviate poverty is by empowering women through financial inclusion, enabling them to improve their quality of life and feel hopeful and confident about the future. As such, Maryse is delighted for the opportunity to get a unique insider experience into the microfinance industry as a Kiva fellow, particularly in West Africa.