Thione Seck (1955-2021)

Thione 'Ballago' Seck is, at least in Senegal, as famous as Baaba Maal or Super Diamono. Internationally though, he never managed to break through as did Youssou N'Dour or Baaba Maal. Yet his career already starts in the 1970s, when he became the lead singer of Orchestre Baobab, and was responsible of one of their biggest hits ever, « Mohamadou Bamba » (1980).
Due to artistic differences with other members of Baobab, Thione left and established his own band, le Raam-Daan (=crawling to reach your goal). His younger brother, Mapenda Seck, who was also a singer in Baobab, joined him soon.

Thione won much acclaim in Senegal throughout the 1980s, but given the media landscape in this country, it was difficult to get out of the shadow of the predominant position taken by Youssou N'Dour. Thione's musical style is very recognisable, his "cool", melodic way of singing floats freely over the frenetic mbalax rhythms counterpointed by energetic sabar percussion.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he released several albums, numerous cassettes for the Senegalese market, and some albums also reached an international audience. In 2003, he recorded an album with oriental influences, mainly Indian, as he always liked to listen to Indian film music. This album, recorded between Dakar, Cairo and Bombay, has been released on CD in 2005.

In 2015, he started having troubles with the Senegalese justice after allegations about fake money.

His son Wally Ballago Seck is also a successful singer and seen as the 'enfant terrible' of the Dakar jet-set.

Thione Seck has died in the morning of 14 March 2021.

Thione Seck
Thione Seck 

Born: in Dakar, 12 March 1955
Style: Mbalax

Title Year Label Remarks
Diaga 2010 TBS Productions / Studio Diaga CD
Remix Collection 2006 Wal Fadjri CD
Orientissime 2005 Cantos Also released as Orientation on Stern's STCD 1100
Orientissimo 2003 Syllart Cassette production
Boul Doff 2002 Origines SA Cassette production
Allo Petit 2001 Djoniba Productions DJ 225 CD
Live: XV Anniversary 2000 Djoniba Productions DJ 126 CD
Favori 2000 Syllart SYLAF 96081 CD
Demb II 1998 KSF Cassette production
Daaly 1997 Stern's STCD 1070 Previously released on Syllart (1996)
Demb 1995 KSF Productions Cassette production
Yow 1990 Syllart 38777-1 Previously released on cassette SYL8398
...Dieulleul! 1988 Akan AB002 Cassette production
Le pouvoir d'un coeur pur 1988 Stern's ST 1023
Unesco 1987 Babacar Sady Cassette production
Chauffeur Bi 1980 Valerie VAL 002 LP by Thione Seck et son ensemble

Toshiya Endo's African music discography for a comprehensive list of all albums, incl. local cassettes 
Page added August 1998