People & Culture
People | Languages | Religion | Cooking & Recipes |
Music & Musical Instruments| Art &
population was estimated in 2002 at about 9,8 millions , of which a quarter
live in the agglomeration of Dakar, it is composed of many ethnics.
Wolofs, are the most represented (35%), they make up the majority in all the
regions, especially in the centre, the north and the coast of Dakar and Saint
Louis. The farmers and the merchants, of Muslim faith for the majority, there
importance is certain in the nations economy. The Lebous, established in
fishing communities in the peninsula of Cap-Vert and in Saint Louis are
The Pulaar (20%), is composed of the Foulbes, Peuls and
Toucouleurs, in the northern Senegal, the Fouta Toro, historical source for the
propagation of Islam in Senegal, make up the cultural birthplace, they are very
active in the commercial domain, as well as breeding and irrigated farming.
they populate the Senegalese river valley and the Ferlo region.
Sereres (17%) are less scattered out than the other ethnic groups. They can be
found in the Sine-Saloum, along the Small Coast, in the centre of countries and
north-west of the Gambia. The majority are Muslim, except for those along the
Small Coast. The Diolas (10%) can be found in the Casamance, but also in Gambia
and the Guinea-Bissau. Oriented rather to the culture of rice, they are for the
majority animist and/or Christians in the basse Casamance region (Ziguinchor,
Oussouye, Cap Skiring), and musulmans in the north and east.
the main ethnic groups, we find the Mandingues of Eastern Senegal, the Soninkes
very present in the east of the country and in the zones adjacent to the Mali
and the Mauritania, the Bassari which live mainly by the culture of the millet
and corn, of the picking and hunting, between the Guinea border and the limit
of the Niokolo-Koba national park.
information including photographs
to Senegal National
Words of the
French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Diola,
How are you?
What is your
My name is...
I come from...
does this cost?
That's too expensive.
I don't understand
Je vais bien.
Je suis de...
C'est trop cher.
Tu est beau
Je suis perdu(e).
Je ne comprend pas le wolof.
Mangi fi rek.
Mangi deka fi...
Cher na trop.
Languages of Senegal
Muslim 92%, indigenous beliefs 6%,
Christian 2% (mostly Roman Catholic)
Almost 90% of the Senegalese
population are of musulman confession . The islamization of the country dates
back to the XIth century (see history of Senegal), the period when the north of
the Senegal, was conquered by the Almoradives (monks warriors barbers). The
appearance of Christianity is much more recent. Often frayed between the two
religion, the animism, with their rituals and their beliefs, is still very
COOKING & RECIPES
How a Dinner is Served in Senegal
Senegalese Lemon Soup
- cheb-oo-jen the national dish of Sénégal.
Ngalax - a delightful dessert
Click for more receipes from Senegal
The Senegal is a country rich in musical
values and the number of occasions that are used to gather around the "griots"
or clapping your hands and sway your hips in rhythm delights a public often
very numerous. Each ethical group has his music and his instruments that are
Modern day and world famous artists include:
one of Africa's most important performers. His music has reached a
world wide audience through collaborations with artists like Peter Gabriel,
Neneh Cherry, and Branford Marsalis.
a uniquely talented
singer from Senegal. He's equally at home with an acoustic guitar playing
traditional folk music or playing the hottest international dance music. He's
finally emerging into the international spotlight as one of the world's hottest
by far the most
common instrument in Senegal. Most all sabar drumming is accompanied by dancing
and usually takes place for special occasions and festivals including births,
baby naming ceremonies, weddings, holidays and other special celebrations. The
sabar has become the backbone of almost every Senegalese music group.
Contemporary Senegalese popular and semi-traditional music is generally
designated as "mballax," named for a family of traditional sabar dance rhythms
ubiquitous in Senegalese music. A group of sabars is an essential ingredient in
all such music. (
nearly as common as the sabar and is
played by a larger number of ethnic groups than the Sabar, including the Wolof,
Sereer, Fulbe, Tukuloor, Malinke, and Mandinko. Similar instruments are found
throughout West Africa. The tama is a "talking drum," or a drum whose pitch can
be regulated. The player puts the tama under one shoulder and beats the tama
with a curved stick held in the other hand. To regulate the pitch, the player
squeezes the strings that surround the tama with his arm, tightening the drum
head and thereby raising the pitch. (more
A set of three to five tuned wooden kettle
drums used for worship by the Qadiriya of Senegal, a branch of the world's
oldest Sufi order. Each drum is carved from a log and covered with a cow hide,
which is laced to an iron ring and tightened with wedges. The drums are played
by a troupe of drummers. Each drummer plays with one hand and one stick, except
for the lead drummer, who plays a massive bass drum, using two sticks about as
thick as broom handles...
The Kora is a 21-stringed harp
lute that originated in the Gambia River valley with the Mandinko but is one of
the most popular instruments in Senegal. Griots from most Mande groups in
Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Guinea, and Guinea Bissau play the kora, and even though
only a small percentage (around 10%) of Senegalese are Mande, most Senegalese
hold the kora in high esteem as one of their great traditional instruments, and
everyone recognizes the famous kora tunes. It has become popular in the West
and has made its way onto popular recordings by Peter Gabriel and many other
Western artists. Its clear, bell-like tone is appealing to Western and African
audiences alike. (more info )
the most common
stringed instrument in Senegal. Griots of many ethnic groups play it, including
the Wolof, Sereer, Mandinko, Malinke, Fulbe, and Tukuloor. It probably came
from the Bamana of Mali through several different paths. The Bamana passed it
on to the Malinke in the south and the Tukuloor and Fulbe in the north, and
these groups passed it on in two separate waves to the Wolof and Sereer.
Because of the variety of paths the xalam has taken and the many different
groups who have embraced it, the xalam shows great regional diversity in its
construction, playing style, and repertoire. The xalam generally has a dryer,
more nasal sound than the kora. (
A large goblet shaped drum,
traditionally carved out of one log. Like an ashiko, yields a resonant bass
tone when struck in the middle, and a high ringing tone when struck on the rim.
The jembe is perhaps the most well-known West African instrument throughout the
world. It originated with the Malinke in Mali, Guinea, and eastern Senegal, but
has become the drum of choice for many groups throughout West Africa. It is
still primarily a Mande (Malinke, Mandinko, Bamana, etc.) instrument and is
therefore not as common in Senegal as the sabar, but even Wolof and Sereer
griots are learning to play it. (
Both percussive and melodic, the balafon is
made of 1721 rectangular wooden slats laid on a frame and arranged from
low to high notes. Two rows of small gourds, secured beneath the wooden slats,
act as natural amplifiers. The balafonlike the xylophone, marimba or
glockenspielis struck with mallets to produce its rhythmic melodies.
|Awaken the Rhythm of Senegal - purchase
this Djembe drum...
||Djembe Drum X-small
Money Saver for Music Lovers Bring
the rhythm of Africa to life with these miniature d'jembe drums from Burkina
Faso and Senegal. These are exceptional home decorations and great for kids as
ART & CRAFT
There is a large variety of
Senegalise Art and Craft products including jewellery, clothes, basket weaving
and musical instruments.
Underglass Painting is one
of the oldest Senegalese arts. It is very popular in the towns and even in
rural areas the painting reproduces daily scenes of life Just as in
Sand painting is one of the most popular
arts of Senegal. The technique is strictly based on the use of local raw
material (sand of the dune, beach sand, volcano sands etc
). The designs
are typically African.
Visit our Senegal Art
& Craft Shop for a huge variety of art and craft items made in