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Considered one of the icons of the world music boom in the 1980s, this singer-songwriter has combined the rich African sound of his voice with melodies and rhythms from a mixture of Western styles.

From humble beginnings in a Senagalese riverside village, he persisted on his musical path despite being pushed towards a life on the water, like his fisherman father.

It was a close family friend, blind guitarist, Mansour Seck, who took on the task of formally teaching Baaba Maal about Senegal's music and its traditions.

The talented young singer went on to blend that traditional vibe with Western sounds he encountered once he started studying in Paris on a scholarship.

Before long, established Western stars sought out Maal to add a unique flavour to their music.

His international success has also helped him to keep a younger generation interested in the traditional sounds of his homeland.

This episode of One on One aired from Saturday, July 25, 2009.

Source: Al Jazeera