Catching the Rhythms of Senegal

found myself in Senegal with my young son at the beginning and
end of 2017.

We headed for a small hotel called Sobo Bade in Toubab Dialaw
about 55km south of the capital, Dakar. Sobo Bade is a sort of
community started in the Seventies by a man named Gerard Chenet.
People visit to take part in courses on traditional African music,
dancing, experimental theatre, sculpture, ceramics and

Here you learn about the legacy of the slave trade of the 17th
and 18th centuries. You wake up and fall asleep to the sound of the
drumming and the Atlantic Ocean crashing onto the shore. At the end
of the day, locals gather on the beach to play football and
wrestle. This game is called “lutte” and it is the national

My son roams free all day, having long conversations with
souvenir sellers about everything from sacred baobab trees to the
end of the ivory trade. We walk along the beach, picking up plastic
waste as we go. He plays with local children, riding the waves on a
makeshift floating device made out of bottles.

Also staying at Sobo Bade was Abiodun Oyewole, one of the
founding members of The Last Poets. The band was one of the early
founders of hip-hop that rose out of the civil rights movements of
the late Sixties in Harlem. Oyewole is now a professor at Colombia

We then headed inland with new friends – who build water wells
in remote regions of Mali and Senegal – to a small village on the
Gambian border. It was here that I photographed the women of the

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Dakar, Senegal