Born in 1973 in Dakar, PAPE CHEIKH DIOUF is from a guewel (griot) family originally of the Siné-Saloum Delta region in southwestern Senegal. As a youth, he was sent to his uncle's house to learn the plumbing trade. But his passion was music, which he pursued in his spare time and ultimately decided was his path to follow.
Along with his enormous talent, Pape Diouf is known and admired for representing certain human and social values that are central to Senegalese culture. His themes, expressed in the Wolof language, are about love and life's lessons, and especially about "teranga" – mutual respect, acceptance and hospitality as a way of life. His lyrics speak directly to the hearts of Senegalese everywhere, many of whom live abroad and are nostalgic for their homeland.
His captivating sound and charismatic performance have inspired references to "the new Youssou Ndour." Now that Ndour is Minister of Tourism and no longer performs, Pape Diouf is seen as the likely successor to the master of mbalax. Even in his movements and vocal style, Pape emulates his idol, who in turn has called him “the future of Senegalese music.”
In 1995, at the age of 22, he joined the Lemzo Diamono Group, where his talent became widely recognized with three major hit recordings: “Darou Rahmane" (Talla Diagne, 1996), “En Live Diapason” (KSF, 1997) and “Co Co Rico” (unknown, 1998).
After going solo in 1998, several frustrating years passed before his first album, Live au Biddew (Tribu/Lampe Fall, 2003), and a U.S. tour.
It was then that Pape met Mamadou “Jimi” Mbaye, lead guitarist of Youssou Ndour's band Super Étoile de Dakar, who helped him record and produce Partir! (Jololi, 2004) – opening the door to a promising career. That album brought widespread acclaim for the title track, “Partir” – a brilliantly-conceived mbalax take on Andrea Bocelli’s blockbuster hit, “Con te Partirò”.
It was also the launch of Pape Diouf et la Génération Consciente, his band which has now been together for more than 10 years.
International tours and pressure from his fans led to the 2008 album, Jotna, released on the Prince Arts label (formerly Jololi, still under the guidance of Youssou Ndour). The gates were thrown open and Pape Diouf was now an idol in his own right.
His 2011 album, Casse Casse (Prince Arts), was released with a massive hit, "Bégué,” which took him over the top.
In July 2012, Pape succeeded in filling the Grand Théâtre de Dakar, proving to all of Senegal his place as contender to the title, “King of Mbalax.” Less than one year later, in March 2013, he sold out the world-famous Zénith Theatre de Paris.
Pape Diouf is currently in the studio, preparing his highly-anticipated new release.