The formidable Oussou Njie Senor
Friday, June 22, 2012
For decades, Oussou Njie Senor has been at the center of the Gambian music scene. His numerous compositions pay tribute to his creative talent as composer, arranger, bandleader, and producer. Moreover, he is the pioneer of an unforgettable Super Eagles that changed the face of Gambian music history. Throughout his 40-year involvement with the development of Gambian music, Oussou has received much kudos for his extraordinary genius.
Oussou's pioneering musical approach has made him one of the most solicited composer in Gambian music. He has worked with many of the best Gambian artists like Malando Gassama, Paps Touray Badou Jobe, Dan Joof, Sammy Ndam’e, Marcellin, Charlie Valentine, Edu Hafner, Modou Cham, Senemie Taylor etc. His resume also includes producing the first hit song "Mandal ly"for the Super Eagles band. He has written more than 50 songs and most of them are now classics. Among them are "Gambia Sumu Rwe, “Viva Super Eagles” and “ Haleli Africa”.Oussou has also been inspirational to younger generations.
Born in Banjul, Republic of the Gambia, Oussou Njie inherited his passion for music because he lived very close to the Louisset Bar, the Foyer Music Hall and the UAC tennis lawn which were the focus of attention for live music and dancing bands. And also from street and school friends like Jimmy Coron, Laba Sosseh, Badou Jobe and Paps Touray.,Oussou introduced a new dance craze called “BE Tanka Du Lal Be” He became an internationally renowned star with the Super Eagles. He toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom, West Africa and the Senegambia region.
His career took another historical turn when he created “Fateleku” and signed to Anonymous records of USA. As creative director and musical producer, he was responsible for inspiring the careers of many of the young stars that formed part in the urban Gambian Afro Cuban and Salsa music of West Africa.
In 2009 he gathered many of the musicians from the Gambian and showcased them together in concert at the Arch 22 in Banjul to mark the Gambia Independence day Anniversary celebration. This marked the birth of the legendary Oussou Njie on You-tube Video. This orchestra/ Band consisting of Gambia's elite musicians exploded all over the Senegambia Salsa scene starting an incredible musical era for Gambia’s Tropical music that has continued for over 30 years under the masterful direction of Oussou Njie and the Super Eagles Band.
For more than 40 years, Oussou Njie has been one of the most audible in-demand artist in the Gambian music scene in general. He has performed as soloist and guest artist in many Festivals and prestigious events with the Super Eagles worldwide. Oussou Njie Senor is deeply committed to the improvement of the Gambian music.
Oussou Njie established in Banjul the renowned must-stop records and musical instruments’ shop that supplied musical instruments to all the top bands in the sub region including Senegal and Guinea Conakry. Also the Jazz Café “Take Five”, The Good foot Boutique and the Night Club- Take Five demonstrating his love for music and commitment to Gambia’s Culture, History, Arts and Music. He says, "My hope is to give a young aspiring and talented musician a chance to develop as an artist and benefit from my Music education.
He was invited to St Louis in Senegal in the 350 years city anniversary ceremony on December 12th 2009, where he performed the legendry song ‘Mandal-Li’ which popularized the city as a popular capital in Senegal. The music of Oussou Njie continues to bless the Gambian music industry. He remains highly active in the performing and recording as the guiding force behind the best Gambian tropical music. Always ahead of his time, he is one of the most admired and loved musicians on the music scene all over the world.
As a child,
Oussou Njie Senor was deeply interested in music, and the courtyard outside the
family's house in Banjul, The Gambia, was a gathering place for the musically
orientated neighborhood youth. Oussou's father died when he was 9 years of age,
and his mother had to bring him up alone. In the beginning she was concerned
about Oussou's great passion for music.
courtyard the young ones discussed music and supported each other, and it wasn't
long before some audacious ideas were put into practice. During school hours
these developed into small concerts for friends and acquaintances. A few weeks
before his final exams at secondary school, young Oussou ran off to be with his
friends in the newly formed band, Eagles.
The band consisted of The Gambia's best musicians at that time, 1964, and Ismaila was the youngest at 19. Eagles were the first band from The Gambia that toured outside the country's borders. In 1968 some of the group broke away, Ismaila Oussou Njie Senor among them, and thanks to sponsors, bought their own instruments. They formed the Super Eagles band.
"When I was a kid, about 8 years old, the Super Eagles album came out and I had to save up from my pocket money for at least 2 weeks just to buy it. And it was at Oussou store that I purchased it. You see that Super Eagle album was a big hit. They were the hottest those days, but sadly and not so long after that, they became quite and it was all over”. "Oussou Njie Senior won a life time achievement award and said he has received his award with mixed feelings, nothing that it should have been without people like Jimi Coron, Sogie Sock, Modou Cham, Badou Jobe, Pa Touray, Laba Sosseh.
Oussou Njie Senor is just simply the proud Gambia's flag bearer in the world of music. Fans within might not see or feel his wonderful impact beyond the borderlines of Africa, but it's marvelous that he is breaking the jinx and reaching higher heights. The hidden things you didn't know about Oussou Njie Senor's soaring success with a career that experienced a bunchy years hiatus, are ahead the unwrapped things you know.
You didn't know he is presently one of Africa's topmost artists, acquiring acres of grounds in the world music circus. You didn't know that DJs in U.S, Canada and South America go head on heads for that neatly sealed pack of a project. You didn't know he is holding tight and firm in international charts like America's Spinner radio's weekly 25 most-played.
The group became very popular in The Gambia and Senegal, had a few hits, and recorded several albums. During the years 1968-71 the group toured in The Gambia, Senegal, Ghana, Togo. They also visited England. Ismaila Oussou Njie Senor was always the vocalist and frontman in The Gambia's first supergroup. After many years of passivity, Njie Senor is again active with the Faateleku Package.
take from the American Anonymous Records. The disk is a new recording of one of
the old hits with the Super Eagles group, some of them from as far back as
1968. The recording was made in Yellowgate Studios in The Gambia and the sound
quality is very good. The song material has stood the test of time and the
substance is catchy with influences from mbalax, salsa and highlife.
well-arranged, chiefly synthesizer-based, but in large part doesn't sound like
it. The ball starts rolling at full tilt on the track "Nooh-Yoou Oussou
Njie", a wild, swinging song with a certain soukous influence. The group
follows it up well with the salsa song "Suma Rew-Gambia", before
throwing themselves into the mbalax-ish "Sosseh".
hit, "Manda-ly", from 1968 is given a new treatment, and makes you
remember the laid-back rhythms of Orchestra Baobab, but there's a lyrical
electric guitar a la Carlos Santana in here as a bonus. So far, so good. But
from here on in it becomes a little bit fuss. Maybe it's that the other songs
don't quite reach the same heights as the opener.
It goes up and down; it flickers; jazz arrangements are abandoned in flavor of a sort of dance band sound. I feel the disk simply fades as it goes on. It makes you feel a little overwhelmed and smothered by all the dance-pop. Apart from that, Oussou Njie Senor is a fine vocalist with a warm voice; if the group would quiet down a bit, this could be the tops.
Author: Oko Drammeh