Senegalese Music Veteran, Thione Seck Dies At 66

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One of Senegal’s biggest music stars over the last four decades, Thione Seck has been confirmed dead by his lawyer.

The veteran singer died at the age of 66 in Dakar on Sunday.

“He died this morning of an illness at the Fann hospital,” lawyer Ousmane Seye told AFP, thus confirming the reports in the Senegalese media.

Thione Ballago Seck was from a family of “griot” singers. He was one of the West African country’s most famous musicians, alongside Youssou Ndour, Omar Pene, Ismael Lo and his own son, Wally Seck.

In the 1970s, he sang in the Orchestre Baobab, popular for playing a mix of Afro-Cuban salsa and traditional Senegalese music.

The singer and lyricist created Raam Daam in the 1980s, which has become one of the most popular purveyors of mbalax, a genre combining funk, reggae, dance music and local rhythms.

Some of his major hits include “Allo Petit”, “Orientissime” and “Diaga”.

Shortly after the announcement of his death, condolence messages and tributes were sent in. The former mayor of Dakar Khalifa Sall described Seck as “a true monument of Senegalese music”.

El Hadji Hamidou Kasse, a former journalist and current advisor to President Macky Sall, tweeted that Seck was “one of the artist heroes of an era”.

Senegalese media reported that Seck was to be buried in a cemetery in the Dakar area of Yoff on Sunday afternoon.

The singer’s last years were tainted by a long-running legal scandal involving counterfeit cash.

He was arrested in May 2015 after fake banknotes worth 50 million euros ($60 million) were found in his Dakar house.

He was detained for nine months ahead of a trial. However, all charges were later dropped.

 

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