Dieuf-Dieul de Thies (Unreleased senegalese sounds from early 80s)


An obscure 80s band from Thies in Senegal have just been brought back to life by label Teranga Beat. Dieuf-Dieul played from 1979 to 1982, but it appears their music never have chance to be released on a proper vinyl nor tape album until today. That's why i found interesting to present this record on Muzzicaltrips and to discuss with Teranga Beat Label founder, about these recordings and amazing piece of senegalese musical heritage.
Dieuf-Dieul was run by Pape "Abdou Aziz" Seck, ex member of Guelewar from Gambia,  not to be mismatched with  70s figure Pape "Serigne" Seck (from Star Jazz de Saint Louis, Star Band de Dakar, Number One du Senegal). To have an idea of  his carreer, Pape Seck played guitar in following bands:

Royal Band de Thies (mid 70s), Guelewar (mid 70s), Ouza et ses Ouzettes (late 70s, one album), Dieuf Dieul (early 80s), Etoile 2000 (from 1982), Baaba Maal (late 80s). One foot in the 70s, period knowing the evolution from 60s latin music to a specific senegalese sound, and one foot on the early 80s, new evolution phase toward urban sounds as mbalax and new sonorities form instruments technological progress. In this Dieuf-Dieul recordings, both traditional senegalese rhythms and modern psyche fuzz guitar can be heard which makes it a very deep afrojazz hallucinatory trip. If you enter it, i'm sure you will enjoy it.
Few words about the band's name : Dieuf Dieul comes from "Dieuf Dieul, ligey tchi jaamou yalla la bokk", first words of Cheikh Ibrahima Fall (major figure in Mouride brotherhood, creator of Baye Fall movement promoting hard labour and material deprivation). So Dieuf Dieul can be understood as "to give and to take", like a good action will bring back to you something good. The band name takes now his full meaning, reaping what have been sowed 30 years earlier...

Members of Dieuf-Dieul de Thies:
Pape Abdou Aziz Seck : vocals
Assane Camara : vocals
Bassirou Sarr : vocals
Gora Mbaye : vocals
Abdoulaye Camara : guitar
Doudou Leo Dior : bass
Cheikh Ndiaye : timbales
Abdoulaye Ly : tumba
El Hadji Ngom : tama
Sogui Ngom : sabar
Pape Demba Diop : tenor sax
Pape Cisse : alto sax
Alioune Badara Diop : trumpet
Recorded by Moussa Diallo

Muzzicaltrips discussion with Adamantios Kafetzis (Teranga Beat founder, April 2013) :

MUZZ :  First time you heard about this Dieuf-Dieul de Thies band?
AK : With 3 years of existence only, the band is not very famous in Senegal. Actually I heard about this band from Moussa Diallo, who recorded many local band from the 60s to the 80s. Then I found the reels. It consists of 2 recording sessions (1980 and 1982). Apparently, a 3rd reel had been recorded but has been lost while traveling to France to be pressed (if anyone know something about this lost reel pls contact me!)
MUZZ : Nowadays, Dakar and Thies are just very diferent cities (huge and hectic vs restfull and village atmosphere, tremendous trafic vs relaxing large avenues...) what about the late 70s?
AK : During the 70s there was not so much difference as Dakar knew his huge expansion more recently, but music production (speaking about record releases) was concentrated in Dakar, mainly controlled around famous clubs: Miami (Ibra Kasse's Star Band), Baobab (impulsed by senegalese government), Jandeer (in Soumbedioune area). So it was complicated at the time to release a record without being from this Dakar circles. Speaking about live music, there were bands playing and touring all around the country, but in Thies was established the Sangomar Club, which was probably the best place in the country in terms of soundsystem quality and equipment. So every weekend people from Dakar used to ride the 70km to Thies to enjoy live music at Sangomar. This is where the Dieuf-Dieul have been recorded.
While urban soundtrack of wolof people from Dakar was becoming monopolized by mbalax, other part of Senegal could look out at mandingo or diola musical heritage. Casamance and Gambia being the melting pot. Ifang Bondi and Guelewar LPs were the first expression of this strong mandingo influence mixed with psyche sounds, resulting a deep and music. Pape Seck, was actually playing with Guelewar before joining Ousmane  Diallo (Ouza et ses Ouzettes LP Mbaana, on which Pape Seck plays) and then creating the Dieuf-Dieul.
MUZZ : Did the musicians have access to psych-rock occidental records from the time?
AK : No. They could have acces to some rock records (at least Santana!) but very few psyche music was available in Senegal. Actually, their approach was to play senegalese music (not to imitate an occidental psyche sound), but sound evolution comes from technological progress : from 1980 arrived new possibilities as fuzz guitar or different keyboards. 
MUZZ : How do the musicians feel about cuban/latin music? 
AK : Although Dieuf-Dieul's sound proposes new approach incorporating psychedelic guitars and deep transe rhythms, the cuban influence (which was present in most of 60s 70s senegales productions) is not denied nor rejected. A tumba and a timbal contribute to anchor these recordings in senegalese music evolution, marked by a strong afrocuban influence. And I can reveal that the second volume of Dieuf-Dieul will include an afrolatin track...
MUZZ : What could you tell about the music sound?
AK : At first we have to consider that this music has been recorded live, and with 4 mics and a 4 tracks recorder (In the case of this album, it was the first time Moussa Diallo uses it, after years of recordings with a 2 tracks recorder).
I try to keep the sound faithfull (as much as possible) to how it was played and could be listen at the time. So frequencies are more concentrated in mid low, which make it agreable to listen in my view. The approach is a bit different from many actual african reeditions, who would apply to a 80s sound a 2010s mastering style, making it fit better to more clubby selections, but sometimes to the detriment of the authenticity.
Check Teranga Beat great works at http://www.terangabeat.com/