At the same time, Pene remains consistent with his social engagement at the side of the downtrodden in Africa: a child victim of a polygamous relationship, a woman saying farewell before emigrating to the perilous North, a worker overwhelmed by the hardships of his job. “Life is a lot harder than when I was young,” the 50-year-old confided to me in his elegant Dakar home. “So I hold back no punches. Africans must extricate themselves from this situation. We have to talk about the daily realities of 90% of the people here…With my music I try to be of some comfort to my public by showing that I am not indifferent to the difficulties they face. And the authorities,” he adds, pointing to a picture behind him of Prime Minister Macky Sall clasping Omar’s hand,” the authorities have now become aware of how important we are as teachers and guides, and they are helping us.”
Pene’s musical efforts to allay the anguishes of dire poverty around him are buoyed by the warm timbre of his voice. There is a proximity to that luminous voice of his which is amplified by the soft yet insistent use of percussions. These are ably handled by Papa N’Diaye Rose, one of several musicians he calls on from the Super Diamono band,. Pene’s penetrating vocals are also enhanced by the two backing voices, Dieynaba Koité and Diarra Gueye. Their melodic harmonies give a peculiar resonance to the songs that make them irresistible.
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