African Music Encyclopedia


Jimi Mbaye



At ten years old Jimi Mbaye (pronounced em-BY) built his first guitar out of fishing line and gasoline cans. At twenty he'd scraped up enough money to buy a used Fender Stratocaster. Mbaye was just as determined to get a guitar as he was to make it in the competitive Dakar music scene. Early on he met Youssou N'Dour and together they became rising stars on Senegal's club scene, playing mbalax music. They created the "Super Etoile" band together in 1979 and have been musically inseparable for all these years.

Mbaye recorded six top-selling major-label albums with N'Dour before taking a leave of absence to record his own solo album, released in 1997, Dakar Heart. Recorded at N'Dour's Studio Xippi, Dakar Heartfeatures N'Dour's band "Super Etoile". Mbaye is back at N'Dour's side and is very much an integral part of Youssou's "Super Etoile" band these days. In fact, Youssou often travels abroad only with Jimi as acoustic guitar accompanist, as he did in June 1998 for performances in Paris as guests of Brazilian performer Gilberto Gil at the Olympia Theatre.

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