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5 Songs You’ll Hear At Every Senegalese Wedding

During my time in Senegal, I would go to a local wedding with my host family and dance until midnight every Saturday night. These celebrations can be heard from kilometers away as the live music and laughter from dancing filled the night. Over time, I recognized some songs were clearly favorites during the celebrations, and these five songs are staples at any Senegalese wedding. 

*Note: Senegalese weddings are very different from what we call Western weddings. When a local tells you they are going to a marriage ceremony (mariage in French), they will usually refer to the “after-party” that happens after the couple gets married in a mosque.

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wedding in senegal

“Djadja” by Aya Nakamura

You can’t have a proper Senegalese wedding without playing this song! French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura recounts rumors of a man who claims to be thinking about her in the hit “Djadja.” This song has a high-energy beat that is easy to dance to and the lyrics of the song are very popular among women. Whenever I wanted to dance with my host siblings in my room, we would start off with this.

“Nila” by Akhlou Brick

A lot of times during Senegalese weddings, the groomsmen and bridesmaids would walk down the wedding procession dancing to a song. Usually, that song is this! “Nila” is the first song I heard at a Senegalese wedding and I am still hooked! Akhlou Brick incorporates the traditions of Senegalese drumming with modern properties of pop music in this lively song. 

“Ma La Nob” by Adiouza

This is a favorite go-to song among women and brides who are posing for photos. In “Ma La Nob,” Senegalese singer Adiouza asks why her lover is interested in her and goes on to share her feelings. This Wolof song has a very casual beat where dancers don’t have to be outgoing to display their appreciation.

“Bazardée” by KeBlack

This French song is usually played at the end of weddings. A favorite among men, “Bazardée” combines an electro-beat with R&B lyrics. Artist KeBlack shares a tale about a girl who has gone wild and commits reckless acts. Although I do not condone the lyrics of the subject, I highly enjoy this song and I can always get my local Senegalese friends to dance with me.

“Yobanté” by Wally Seck 

This Wolof song is the most “traditional” on our list as you can hear different drums accompanying Wally Seck. The djembe drummers at weddings can play the song live and they encourage all attendees to dance along! This is a great closer to weddings as people get tired after dancing and want to go home. 

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