I spent a moment with DABY TOURÉ in a small coffee shop in the heart of Montreal. He let me steal a few minutes in a day full of interviews, and I took advantage of it!

Daby is touring North America at the moment, supporting his new album, AMONAFI, a Wolof word for “Once upon a time”.

“When I started writing this album, I was talking about the concept of leaving, of walking, of the first African who left Africa, and who populated the planet in the end. It goes back to migration around the world, and how it has always been, except now we are scared of it.”

He would know, himself a product of movement as his family moved between Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. The musician is not from one country, he is in himself the cultural mix of West Africa, speaking around 6 languages.

In 1989, at the age of 17, he left Africa for Paris, to join his father, who was playing with none other than the famous band Touré Kunda. Along with his cousin, he founded Touré Touré, which lasted a short time as Daby wanted to express something very personal. The solo project started with the first album, Diam, on Real World Records.

Daby Touré 2Amonafi is somewhat related to this first one. The album reflects a certain nostalgia about his roots, about his childhood, and a need to be in control of everything in the creation and production process. It is sung in Wolof, Soninke, Pular, and even in an invented language! And while he talks about his creative process, the man breathes creativity. His eyes pulse with passion when he speaks to you.


“Some people don’t take being a musician very seriously sometimes. I recorded everything on this album except for the horns. Just like I did for my first album. I think we (artists) should be able to do this more. It’s become a habit to push buttons and the software does it all for you. I wanted to involve myself more from A to Z. “

As always with Touré, champion melodist, his melodies are clear, beautiful, and sticky enough to become earworms. The harmonies are trance-inducing, definitely reminding of a pure and authentic form of African Music.

The lyrics are varied, from touching on political issues to observations on his states of mind.

Where Amonafi, Oma and Khone speak intensely of the oppression, enslavement and colonisation of the African Continent, Kille expresses more of an atmosphere and the nostalgia of Daby’s hometown. Kiba was written before the whole world was made aware of the current migrant crisis. It becomes a present day political statement in itself.


“I speak about my life, the life of people I meet, and there is a certain position I believe in and that I want to impose in my music. I want to say things as they are. It is my modest participation in important world problems”

To lighten up a bit, I asked him to teach me how to swear in Wolof. As with a lot of languages, swearing is based on religion, in this case on the Prophet Mohammed, therefore swearing in Wolof is actually in Arabic. We learn something new every day! Though I couldn’t, for the life of me, repeat what he said… Cursing will have to be for another post, sorry.

Daby Touré will be playing on October 23rd, 2015 at the Fairmount Theater.

(Cumbancha, 2015)

-Genre: world

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About The Author

Collaborator - RREVERB

Classical pianist in the great times of wearing braces, insomniac sound engineer with a headphone imprint on my skull, and also (mostly?) electro acoustic music composer during my existential self-questioning evenings. Mother to two garden gnomes, community manager and freelancer scribbler.