Artistic Heritage



The cultural heritage of Senegal is diverse and varied according to ethnic groups and localities.

Music, dance

In Cape Verde, the current region of Dakar (Dakar, Rufisque), among the Lébous , the Ndawrabine is a dance performed by women, adorned with loincloths of different colors, during ceremonies.

It is also mainly in this region that the Sabar is used , a percussion instrument carved in wood and covered with goat or sheep skin. The wood, the skin used and the shape of the drum determine the sounds of the different sabars.

This musical instrument was popularized internationally by the great virtuoso Doudou NDIAYE Rose (who died in 2015), the XALAM and TOURE KUNDA groups in the 1980s, as well as the family of Mbaye Diéye FAYE, a member of Youssou’s orchestra. NDOUR. Another instrument that can be classified in the Senegalese musical heritage is the Tama , an armpit drum of lesser dimension than that used in other countries such as Nigeria.

The Wolof griots of Dakar and Louga, as well as the Halpoulars of Fouta (Saint-Louis and Matam regions) play the xalam , a traditional guitar. We can mention among the most famous xalam players, the late Samba Diabaré SAMB and Boucounta NDIAYE.

It is in the Wolof environment, particularly in Diourbel, that we discover the Taaxuraan , a festive spectacle made up of dances and sung poetry.

In Fouta (Matam region) and in the Tambacounda region, Yella is a musical genre played by women with gourds and calabashes ( Gumbaaru ), accompanied by a Hoddu player (equivalent to xalam).

Among the Serer, located mainly in the regions of Fatick and Thiès (Mbour), traditional wrestling sessions are accompanied by players of Sabar or Riiti , a stringed instrument related to the violin, which is also found among the Fulani.

The great diva Sérére Yandé Codou SENE, muse of President Léopold Sédar SENGHOR, one of whose songs was covered by Youssou NDOUR is a notable heritage of Senegalese music.

The best-known traditional musical tune of Saloum (current Kaolack and Kaffrine regions) is the Ngoyaan  or  Ndaga .

Senegal also has in its heritage, a musical instrument mainly made in the region of Sédhiou and made famous by the virtuosos Lalo Kéba DRAME and Soundioulou CISSOKHO, the kora.

Main characteristics of traditional Senegalese music:

  • Essentially played by griots or women;
  • Performed during circumcision and initiation ceremonies, wrestling sessions, on the arrival of the first rains or during harvest;
  • Also played for kings and warriors, but also for passing guests (the Ngoyaan)

It is to bring together all these rhythms and dances that the Traditional Lyric Ensemble was set up in 1962 by President Léopold Sédar SENGHOR. Composed of talented artists from different communities in Senegal (Wolofs, Serers, Mandingos, Fulani, etc.), the Traditional Lyrical Ensemble played at the Presidential Palace during official ceremonies: banquets, visits by heads of state, etc. It also represented Senegal at the Festival Mondial des Arts Nègres in 1966 and in various countries around the world.

The instruments of traditional Senegalese music were gradually introduced into the modern repertoire, mainly in the 1980s and 1990s with the arranger Cheikh Tidiane TALL.

Au plan international, les artistes les plus connus sont : Youssou NDOUR, Baba Maal, Ismael LO, Coumba Gawlo SECK, Cheikh LO.


Le cinéma sénégalais a connu ses beaux jours depuis Borom Sarret, court métrage réalisé en en 1953, par Paulin Soumanou VIEYRA et SEMBENE Ousmane.

Il faudra attendre 1966 pour que Ousmane Sembène réalise le premier long métrage de fiction subsaharien, La Noire de qui recevra le prix Jean Vigo. Ousmane Sembène a reçu le prix de la critique internationale à la Mostra de Venise.

Les figures phares sont alors Djibril Diop Mambety dont Touki Bouki en 1973 sera le premier film sénégalais à être sélectionné à Cannes.


Les cordonniers de Ngaaye dont la qualité des chaussures et autres produits en cuir, fabriqués sur place est de plus en plus reconnue hors du pays ;

Produits vanniers dans la région de Thiès, poterie

Art culinaire

La cuisine sénégalaise est très connue et apprécie dans le monde entier, de par les mélanges de saveurs unique et des recettes avec beaucoup de caractères comme le Yassa, le Soupe Kandia, Mafe, Deukhine et le plus connu Ceebu Jen.

Ce dernier vient d’ailleurs de faire son entrée dans la liste des patrimoines immatériels de l’Unesco, ce 14 décembre

Le Ceebu Jën est plus qu’un plat typique du Sénégal mais surtout tout un art culinaire. Il est souvent percu comme étant le ciment de l’unité nationale, qui par sa richesse et sa simplicité, témoigne du génie culinaire du Sénégal.

Inclusion on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List is the highest recognition in the world to promote heritage globally.