In June, Sahad Sarr is in Dakar, at Stereo Africa 432, which he launched a few months ago. This studio and label located in the Ouakam district is also “a museum” for the artist. He is just finishing the hanging of an exhibition on the history of Senegalese music from the 1960s to today: jamono. Journeys in memories, offered as part of the OFF of the Dakar Biennale.
“It is important to transmit, to question and to archive. What projects existed before colonization? Why was there, at one point, the advent of foreign music, salsa? Why mbalax? In what context does hip-hop arrive? This jack-of-all-trades is also preparing a film on the subject. But until then, he is piloting the first edition of Stereo Africa Festival, scheduled for the end from month of June, before going on tour in Europe. Without forgetting, at the heart of his daily life, the round trips to the eco-designed village of Kamyaak.
In the footsteps of Felwine, Majnun and Alibeta
It does not take long, in contact with the artist, to grasp that spiritual quest and desire for social and political transformation guide each of his commitments. “I never thought I would become a musician. For my parents, diplomas were important”. He remembers the first guitar notes at Lamine Guèye high school, in the footsteps of ” [s]es brothers”, including Felwine, Majnun and Alibeta.
Sahad combines music and a university course in political science and then in marketing. It was there that he met those with whom he created The Nataal Patchwork: “A family, a school, a philosophy. musicians with whom [il] shares the vision of decolonized, uninhibited music”. Impregnated with the sounds of Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Xalam, Richard Bona, Fela Kuti, or even Mory Kanté, the group plays “fusion-jazz music taxed as intellectual for its age”. Between a first stage in 2008, the price of the Musical Days of Carthage in 2015 and the release of the first album in 2017, Sahad left the path traced by long studies to embrace that of music and engage in a Sufi spiritual quest Baye Fall .
His religious initiation led him to travel through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. An experience that permeates the album Jiw, in 2017 and Plum, released last January. “Luuma means ‘the traveling market’. An organized anarchy where everything forms a unity. In this album, I affirm our place as Africans to look at globalization differently. It’s a story in between the urban world and the rural world”, says the man who grew up in Dakar but whose father, an officer, wanted his offspring to know his roots. “At home we spoke Serer and French. And each wintering season, we went to our grandparents in Niodior. It was lucky. »
It is in Kamyyak, near Fatick, that for five years Sahad – which means “harvest” in Wolof – has been building a training space dedicated to local ecological and social issues. “This village is primarily aimed at young people who, for lack of other options, often want to become a wrestler, go to Europe or live in town to be a street vendor. Alternatives must be created for local youth. »
Senegal: the eclectic siblings of Felwine Sarr, between jazz, philosophy and Afro-fusion
Manufacture of soap or touba coffee, houses in eco-construction and vegetable dyes are some of the activities offered in a spirit of “community entrepreneurship”. Kamyaak is designed as an incubator that brings together residents, students and researchers from neighboring countries or Europe. Sahad, nourished by Mouride cosmogony, is also keen to welcome young Baye Falls there: “In Kamyaak, we are on a spiritual quest but through work”.
This “spiritual eco-village” has prompted the creation of branches of the parent association Jiwnit in Germany and France. “We share our know-how on agroecology from Africa. It is also a way of deconstructing North-South relations and of talking about fundamental decolonization movements,” insists Sahad. Whether through cultural or agricultural entrepreneurship, the emancipatory vision he calls “active utopia” remains the red thread: “The important thing is that people can take charge of the tools for the change they want for them. and can reclaim multiple ways of thinking about success”. Next project for Sahad and his team? Open an eco-built studio in Kamyyak to produce artistes local.