To a great many, SENEGAL means sunshine, beaches and hospitality. A former French Colony, the country gained independence in 1960. For half a century, political rule and governments in SENEGAL have obediently taken after France, pledging allegiance to western democracies on a regular basis, while in reality a growing slackness, thriving corruption, and neglect have made their mark on political life and people’s minds.
Like neighboring countries, burdened by a heavy debt to World Bank and IMF, SENEGAL is far from self reliant (CFA currency devalued), basically looted (mineral ore, fishing, agriculture) and hindered on its slow way up to progress (antique electricity network), made to suffer trafficking and obscure dealings as regular ways to operate in most political and media circles. Such is the present situation, a corrupt society through and through, gnawing at every level whichever intent to remain ethical, bearing down on ethnic and cultural riches to the point of heavy loss. Costs to environment and energy structures have been considerable. However fraught with corruption, SENEGAL has achieved a leading entry point to strategic Africa, enjoys surprising stability, considering neighbor states. Its social structures have reached maturity and there is clear conscience within the fabric of society of what is at stake on major issues such as education, public health, environment, employment and infrastructures. Islam and Christianity share a balanced religious perimeter, a fact that has not been missed by European, American, Japanese, Chinese and Qatari investors; making Dakar the place to be at, opening prospects generating benefits, not to be enjoyed locally though. Torn between cultures, traditions, new technologies, US style swag, the young generation knows it will have a major part to play in the coming decades. Although a predominantly Islamic country, music and dance have been integral parts of national culture and traditions for centuries. The influence of new musical trends is clear, massive and lasting on the younger generations.
The first stretch of Evolution Project was devoted to assess artistic potentials in this emergent music scene, bringing to light willing and determined artists. Evolution Project aims to reach out to a wide variety of people, generations, and across continents as widely as possible. The artists, are committed members of a living and operating community, concerned with the effects of social neglect, intend to produce music spreading good words and sounds. The selection of songwriters, composers, singers picked for the project from a range of musical currents (soul, acoustic, traditional, hip hop, reggae), have picked themes such as Peace, Tradition, Social progress, Love and Spirituality. Each track is based on mainly acoustic features with a naturally light format. Live instruments were played and recorded at Mixup Records Studio in Dakar; a way for members of Evolution Project to make their contribution, giving the music the makeover it requires, constructively, peacefully.
The various artists from the compilation now all have a loyal following, looking at the crowds drawn by their performances as well as their respective updates on social network. They have an audience spread geographically across the world and they are all working on new albums. Indeed, Mandingo Jazz, Nu Soul, Traditional Music, Reggae and hip hop have the spotlight in this project because the performances have all been exclusively played live (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and traditional instruments) by young musicians, some of whom have more than 15 years experience.
The Evolution Project was created because of the belief that today’s promotion of Senegalese artists, musicians and hidden talents is still incredibly poor. This musical project, developed in Senegal (in a professional, ambitious and constructive spirit), aims to:
- Give effective and consequential exposure to certain well and lesser known musicians, artists who have made the risky choice to wish to live their art.
- Organize the artists participating in “Evolution Project” schedules performing at different festivals, on concert stages in Africa and around the world.
- To make a significant proportion of Senegalese musical potential to as many people as possible. This will be done by promoting it effectively across the country, in the sub regions and internationally.
- To promote the richness and musicality of our national languages (Wolof, Fulani, Sosse) to an eclectic audience. Several songs performed in English allow “Evolution Project” to be open to African and international English speakers, by means of themes and messages as positive as they are constructive and for which they will only have greater reach.
- Encourage self production of music, not subject to formatting by the “music business” as it is too often imposed in Senegal today.