Vocalist, composer, actor and director, Badara Seck was born in Senegal but has been active in Italy for many years. He identifies himself as a griot, and the vast range of his activities can be divided in three areas that are apparently different but can all be related to popular music. Firstly, Seck collaborated with many Italian pop artists, such as Massimo Ranieri and Mauro Pagani. While relying on the visibility earned within the pop scene, Seck articulated a complex strategy in order to be recognized as an authoritative, and “authentic”, voice of the migrant communities (second area).
Nowadays Badara is mainly focused on leading his own band and releasing original productions (third area). The three areas are usually considered separately, as it is a hard task – for critics – to fully comprehend that the same Badara whose voice is featured in the soundtrack of the last Checco Zalone´s movie is also the author and interpreter of the poignant piece of musical theatre called Galghi. Drawing from Mark Burford’s analysis of Sam Cooke’s pop albums, I will look at the relationship between Italian popular music and representations of migration in the work of Badara. His work will therefore emerge as a set of “performances [that] conveyed an understanding of ethnicity as an identity that can affirm important solidarities, but also as an accessory to musical performance capable of giving pleasure in any number of ways” (Burford 2012, 141).
Gianpaolo Chiriacò 2018, “Badara Seck. Il contributo del griot e l’identità come frammento accessorio”, in Archiv für Textmusikforschung, innsbruck university press, Innsbruck, ATeM I ISSN 1562-6490 – www.atem-journal.com – Nr. 3,1, 2018 – DOI 10.15203/ATeM_2018.09