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The sometime vocalist for Orchestra Baobab has also enjoyed a popular solo career, driven by his brilliant lyrics and powerful voice. So popular has he become, in fact, that he is often the victim of a flourishing trade in pirated cassette recordings. Seck has taken the pirates to task on his 1991 cassette, UNESCO, which also includes some less strident, but no less energetic, pop music. He is, perhaps, one of the two best known and admired singers in Senegal.
Thione Ballago Seck (born March 12, 1955) is one of Senegal's greatest singers and musicians in the mbalakh genre, on par with Baaba Maal and Youssou N'dour although he hasn't achieved the same level of fame outside his country. Seck comes from a family of "griot" singers from the Wolof people of Senegal. His first job was with Orchestre Baobab, but he later formed his own band, Raam Daan, which he still heads.
Seck's album Orientation was one of four nominated for BBC3 Radio's World Music Album of the Year in 2006. In much of his music, and notably on this album, Seck experiments with the use of Indian & Arabic scales. This supplements his laid back vocals and the band's intense sabar driven rhythms, and displaces the band's more usual guitars, horns, and synthesizers. This album was made in collaboration with a range of more than 40 North African, Arab, and Indian musicians, playing diverse instruments and creating a fusion of styles. Seck has stated that Bollywood films were a longstanding musical influence for him, and the experiment in a fusion style reflects this.
Other albums include XV Anniversary Live! (his second international release) and Daaly. He contributed "Laye M'Boup," a tribute to the late Orchestre Baobab leader, to the The Music In My Head soundtrack. Seck also wrote "Entends-tu le monde?" which was the lead single from Australian singer Tina Arena's seventh studio album 7 vies.