Last night, I caught a Pape Diouf concert at Club Nirvana, one of Dakar’s more bourgeois night clubs, with a few friends I met at Via Via, the hostel I’m starting at. When we arrived at around 12:30 AM, the place was still almost empty. It didn’t really start filling up until just a little before 2:00 AM. In the interim, I was struck by how the inside of the club resembled any other I’ve visited in the Toronto, Montreal, New York. Billboard 100 playlist, mirrors, strobe lights, leather and chrome — TVs showing scenes of scantily clad women and bling-clad men dancing around Bentleys. The playlist didn’t contain any surprises either. Even cover — about 6,000 CFA ($12) resembled a North American club.
Finally, at 2:30, the live music started. I’m no music critic, so I’ll let you watch Pape on youtube rather than trying to explain what his music is like. Clearly though, his music brought me back to Dakar. A few minutes into his set, the dance floor was packed — I mean, packed. The pulsing (yet seemingly entirely unpredictable) beat made you want to dance, but frankly, there wasn’t any room. That didn’t stop anyone (or even me) from trying, mind you.
Diouf was still playing when we left at 5AM, which brings me to the paradox of the evening. 6,000 CFA is pretty significant coin in Senegal. So presumably, most of the people at this concert had to jobs. But how can people with jobs party until 5:00 AM on a Wednesday night!
In any case, today was tough. Thank heavens for café Touba — Senegal’s strong and sweet-as-syrup caffeine fix.