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Dip Doundou Guiss #FreeSenegal

Sounds of the world : Music in Senegal, a weapon against political unrest

Cet article en anglais est le résul­tat d’un pro­jet col­la­bo­ra­tif entre #Aux­Sons et Ale­jan­dro Abbud Torres Tori­ja, pro­fes­seur à Sciences Po Paris Cam­pus Reims, et contri­bu­teur régu­lier d’#AuxSons. Dans le cadre du cours “Sons du monde : la musique comme miroir de l’in­time et du col­lec­tif” des étu­diants inter­na­tio­naux de Sciences Po Paris Cam­pus Reims se sont pen­chés sur les liens entre musiques des quatre coins du monde et enjeux sociopolitiques. 

This article is a result of a col­la­bo­ra­tive pro­ject bet­ween #Aux­Sons and Ale­jan­dro Abbud Torres Tori­ja, lec­tu­rer at Sciences Po Paris Cam­pus Reims, and regu­lar contri­bu­tor to #Aux­Sons. As part of the class “Sounds of the world : Music as mir­ror of the inti­mate and the col­lec­tive”, inter­na­tio­nal stu­dents from Sciences Po Paris Cam­pus Reims pre­pa­red articles pre­sen­ting contem­po­ra­ry music from dif­ferent parts of the world in connec­tion with recent socio-poli­ti­cal events.


Sene­gal is a West Afri­can coun­try where, as in most coun­tries, music has an impor­tant func­tion in dai­ly life. In recent years it has taken on a more enga­ged form in the poli­ti­cal landscape. 

The latest events of Februa­ry 2021 have shown how pro­test also involves music and musi­cians. Indeed, since 2011, a real civic move­ment has been for­med around the rap­pers of the “Y’en a marre” col­lec­tive, whose enga­ge­ment has influen­ced many artists. The arrest of the main opponent and can­di­date in the upco­ming pre­si­den­tial elec­tions, Ous­mane Son­ko, has crea­ted pro­tests across the coun­try. Des­pite the pea­ce­ful spi­rit of these riots, as evi­den­ced by the youth hymns sung by the demons­tra­tors, clashes with the secu­ri­ty forces have clai­med the lives of 11 people. 

As with eve­ry time the coun­try faces dif­fi­cult situa­tions, music emerges as a media­tor : not only bet­ween the people and the pre­sident but also bet­ween the coun­try inten­tio­nal­ly cut off from the rest of the world and the inter­na­tio­nal community. 

A song from the famous Sene­ga­lese rap­per DIP, #Free­Se­ne­gal, refe­rences the hash­tag crea­ted to alert the world on the poli­ti­cal situa­tion. In this song, DIP reminds people of the impor­tance of conti­nuing the mobi­li­za­tion and denounciation.


Other musi­cians have addres­sed the pre­sident direct­ly, like Bril. The first words of his song Let­ter To The Pre­sident show how musi­cians can be spo­kes­per­sons : « It’s the people who sent me ».


These sounds tes­ti­fy music and poli­tics are inti­ma­te­ly lin­ked in Sene­gal. In less than a week, seve­ral songs were pro­du­ced to warn the pre­sident, to raise awa­re­ness among young people about the impor­tance of defen­ding the rule of law, to denounce the excesses of power, and to pay homage to those killed during these demonstrations.


the authors : 

Awa Dial­lo is 20 years old and stu­died in Maria­ma Ba boar­ding school in her native Sene­gal.  She is cur­rent­ly a 2nd year under­gra­duate student fol­lo­wing a major poli­tics and govern­ment at Sciences Po Paris Cam­pus Reims.

Her­mès Chan­dès is a second-year student at Sciences Po Paris in the Europe-Afri­ca pro­gram. He is a mem­ber of the Art Asso­cia­tion of the cam­pus where he regu­lar­ly contri­butes with articles and pod­casts on music.


pho­to : Dip Doun­dou Guiss #Free­Se­ne­gal

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