The Royal Band de Thiès
was formed by Mapathé 'James' Gadiaga
1972, after he had left a school band Cayor Rhythm de Thiès
. He soon called upon singer
Adama Seck 'Secka'
to join him. In their hometown Thiès, the second city of the country
with more than 300,000 inhabitants, located around 70 kms East of Dakar, the Royal Band frequently performed in various clubs and venues,
and recorded in Club Sangomar. Only occasionally they performed in Dakar.
They released a few cassettes and made it to reasonable fame in Senegal but never made it to international audience
nor to an international release. Only a small in-crowd of Senegalese music fans was familiar with them until small
Dutch label Dakar Sound
released a number of their songs on their compilations.
Their music is loved for the expressive, soulful vocals and the raw and funky rhythms. The Royal Band's style of mbalax is quite recognisable.
In 1984, Mapathé 'James' Gadiaga
left to join Super Diamono
before engaging in other musical adventures, (Johnny Clegg
, followed by a period in France), before
creating Super Cayor de Dakar
back in Senegal.
Another niche label for Senegambian music, Teranga Beat
, uncovered their first recordings from
1979, thus far unreleased. The album « Kadior Demb »
is the first
full-length album available after so many years. Singer Adama Secka made a few solo albums for the Senegalese market.
The Royal Band was quite instable in personnel, and Secka' formed another band, called Super Royal Band
the band was renamed in Secka et les Damels
, after the former leaders of the Cayor kingdom (16th - 19th Century).
A new album « Wakh »
was released in 2015.