This free-spirited singer and multi-instrumentalist, who was named RFI Talent 2021, is a young up-and-comer who sang with the mythical Orchestra Baobab for a few years. He is asserting himself with a mainstream Afropop sound, connected to his roots and integrating ballads, hip-hop, reggae, funk and soul.
As a child, Cheikh Ibrahima Fam was rocked by the old records that his mother played in the family home in Dakar: those of the Orquesta Aragón from Cuba or of the Dominican Johnny Pacheco, a star of Latino music very popular in West Africa. When he discovered the American Otis Redding, at the age of ten, the shock of soul music was such that the boy did not listen to anything else.
It took a while for Cheikh Ibra Fam to understand that he was ready, that the time had come for him to move forward in the open, without an avatar or tutelage. After four years with the mythical Orchestra Baobab, a fifty-year-old monument of Senegalese music, and three albums with a local vocation under the name of Freestyle that allowed him to become known by his compatriots, the maturation process reached its logical end.
With Peace In Africa, his first international album, digitally distributed in Canada by Disques Nuits d’Afrique in 2022, the singer and multi-instrumentalist adds new nuances to the spectrum of African world music. It is also an opportunity for the artist to prepare his first world tour. The added value of this extraordinary artist is due in particular to the know-how that Cheikh Ibra Fam possesses: he spent six years at the Milan Conservatory in Italy where he has acquired knowledge and practice of multiple instruments. The richness of the creations gathered on Peace In Africa and the diversity of the registers to which they belong reflect the personality as much as the baggage of their author, who resides today in Reunion Island. The programmed beats cross the kora, the brass instruments are invited behind a guitar inherited from Senegalese folk, an air of Cape Verde floats here, and there it is the skank of reggae that brings its groove to evoke these young Africans who cross the seas to try their luck in the West, elsewhere the artist sings in Bambara an air of Mali where his mother is from.
Cheikh Ibra Fam has embraced Africa and he knows how to restore it with the sounds and musical colors of his time, those of today. After the success of his album Peace In Africa released in 2021 under the label Disques Nuits d’Afrique, Cheikh Ibra Fam was present at the 36th edition of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique for a North American first.