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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Musa Mboob
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Describe the atmosphere and live music at a local pub, restaurant, festival, church or temple, club night.... inspire other people to check it out!

Musician: Musa Mboob

Location: London

Instruments: percussion (djembe, tama, sabar) and voice

Music: Gambian, mbalax, English folk

Listen  Listen (03'19) to Musa Mboob play 'Artists'

Listen to Musa Mboob in the World on Your Street tent at WOMAD 2003

'My father was a drummer who was very popular and well known in the Gambia, and his dad was a drummer too, so that's how I came to be a musician.'

How I came to this music:

I'm from a family of drummers. My father was a drummer who was very popular and well known in the Gambia, and his dad was a drummer too, so that's how I came to be a musician. And when my father passed away everything was handed over to me, so I began to lead the band at home in the Gambia, playing traditional weddings and also doing stage festival performances.

In 1990 and I was brought to the U.K. by some friends to produce a percussion album called 'Musa M'Boob M'Balahal', which means 'Mboob plays the drums' (That's my stage name as well). And I toured England at that time also. I went back to the Gambia and then two years later I was brought here again by Ifang Bondi ­ probably the most famous Gambian band ever. We toured Holland, Switzerland, all over Europe and one month in England. I left the band after that because I'm doing my own thing as well.

So between 1990 and 1994 I was coming back and forth, doing tours in England and Switzerland, doing some education work as well in schools, teaching drumming and Gambian songs and dance. That continued until 2000, when I formed a multicultural band here with Roger Watson. It was my idea to name them Boka Halat, which means 'mutual inspiration' in Wolof.

Boka Halat (Roger Watson, Rachel McLeod, Musa Mboob)Boka Halat are a touring band but I also work with Roger in One World Band, which is more of an educational project connected to Boka Halat. I'm also about to release my new stuff from the Gambia with my group Joko Ada, which means 'connecting cultures together.' That's because I took some musicians from here to the Gambia to set up a community studio and from there, we will link with different tribes in the Gambia and record different materials from them. We're also going to be working with a singing and dancing group there called the Pineapple Girls and we're hoping to bring them over here next year.

Where I play:

I've played in the Q.E.H. as well as various WOMAD festivals and I play a lot of other festivals in England. For example, I'm going to be playing with Boka Halat at the Brignorth festival in Shropshire on 23rd August. I haven't been to the U.S. yet, just Europe, the U.K. and in Africa.

A favourite song:

I'm doing a new album now called Ndep Sarr, and this is one song we've recorded for it called Artist. On this song I'm talking about what a responsibility artists have and how a career as an artist is a long adventure. The lyrics explain that God created artists and gave them a responsibility to make ourselves and other people happy. We can use music as a weapon to create peace. So we should honour and appreciate the musicians, we should make them happy, because they are doing hard work.

Read about the other members of Boka Halat, Rachel McLeod and Roger Watson
Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story

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