Mariaa Siga, 2021 © Stéphane Pineau
With a calling card as her first album Asekaw, which she finally has the opportunity to defend on stage, the Senegalese singer Mariaa Siga claims herself and with conviction forms her musical imprint between folk and reggae.
Seeing her dance enthusiastically in the audience to the sound of Elida Almeida’s Cape Verdean funaná, which performed on the July evening at the Nuits du Sud in Vence on the Côte d’Azur, there is no doubt that Mariaa Siga had the pleasure of listening to the winner of the RFI Découvertes Prize 2015, from an island off the coast of his native Senegal. A few days earlier, she was standing at the microphone on the same stage, as part of the Talents competition organized by the festival and from which she left with the jury prize.
The young woman, recently installed in France, may well consider that “the competitions do not [lui] do not succeed “, facts tend to show the exact opposite. First, in December 2016, it was the springboard for the Vieilles Pirogues festival (a nod to Vieilles Charrues, a leading event in Brittany), held in Saly, southeast of Dakar.
She signed up “to see if it goes over or if it breaks” and wins it. At the time, Mariaa wanted to “try out the stage experience” after a few months of rehearsals with “sharks”, these musicians who sell their services to a variety of singers without being tied to a particular project. She who admits that she is “very shy by nature” finally dares to put herself in the center of the game.
If she discovered and appreciated the recording in the studio in 2009, by participating in a track of local rappers when she was about fifteen years old, she was long content to accept the choirs offered to her. Do from time to time. “I did not have confidence in myself,” she admits today.
As soon as her hospitality education was completed, she found her first job … at Madison, a Dakar club where we play almost every night! First contact with the entertainment world. For five years from her cash register, she observed: “I listened a lot, I saw how the musicians prepared, how they succeeded in the evening, how they mastered the stage, their presence.”
Her first songs take shape, as Talibé (street child) appearing on her album Asekaw released in late 2019. The lyrics evoke the situation of these young boys who were left to their own devices that she met after leaving Madison early in the morning. . “Instead of falling asleep, I took my notebook, my pen. I could not do anything for them except this cry from the heart,” she recalls.
On the side of Casamance
On the model of her mother, who created songs in Diola that she interpreted during traditional ceremonies, Mariaa writes some lyrics in the language spoken in Casamance – the family comes from this southern region of Senegal where she went every holiday. “It’s something that happens every time I go there. I discover myself again. I feel at home. I feel a certain community that I can not explain,” appreciates the singer.
His connection to his culture can be heard from the first notes in his record, between Mandingo influences and the Senegalese people. But just like Touré Kunda, her famous elder from Ziguinchor, author of the 1979 hit E’mma, Mariaa has a certain natural closeness to reggae, symbolized by her titles Senegal or La Révolte … thanks to which she won another competition in 2019, on the initiative of the French brand created by the reggae group Danakil!
From singer Yoro N’Diaye who found him in Dakar the right musicians for his album (including Christian Obam, bassist on Youssou N’Dour), to his recent collaboration with Victor Vagh, Pygmalion by Flavia Coelho, the career of the Senegalese woman in the recent years testify to the interest she arouses among those she meets along the way. His participation in the 2020 edition of the television program The Voice in France, without going through auditions, only confirms this potential.
Mariaa Siga Asekaw (own production) 2019 Artists Facebook page / YouTube