Diop's birthplace is Dakar, Senegal. He learnt to play guitar
in his teens and went to study in Paris. While there he worked
with Umban Ukset in a band called West African Cosmos from 1974-1979.
During the next decade Wasis travelled world-wide and formed
links with many diverse musicians and producers: Yasuaki Shimizu
in Japan, Lee Scratch Perry in Jamaica, Robin Millar in London
and Amina Annabi. In 1991 Wasis and Amina took part in the Eurovision
Song Contest with their song 'Le Dernier Qui A Parle', and won
Wasis has written film and TV scores
in many countries. His first album was the soundtrack of the
film Hyenas in 1993, directed by his brother Djibril
Diop Mambety who died in 1998.
This was followed by No Sant (1995) and amongst the
many musicians featured are Yasuaki Shimizu on saxophone, Lokua
Kanza, Nayanka Bell, Loy Ehlrich, and Loik Taillebrest on bagpipes!
The album is dedicated to Djibril. His 3rd CD Toxu
(1998) is dedicated to Daisaku Ikeda, Leopold Senghor and Nelson
Wasis Diop's highly respected and best-known songs are 'African
Dream' which was in the UK charts, 'Everything is Never Quite
Enough' (used in the soundtrack of The Thomas Crown Affair),
and 'Once in a Lifetime' featuring Amadou and Mariam, a hommage
to Talking Heads. All of these and many more are on the 2003
compilation Everything is Never Quite Enough. Wasis
is on backing vocals on
and Mariam's song 'Bes'mi Lah' originally
on Tje Ni Mousso (1999)
and also on
The Magic Couple compilation (2009).
has further family connections in film - his daughter Mati plays
the part of Josephine in 35 Shots of Rum.
Wasis performed at WOMAD Charlton Park in 2008, the same year
in which his album Judu Bek was released.
There are 2 very
noteworthy songs on Judu
adaptation of El Hadj N'Diaye's
'Jinne', and 'L'Ange Djibril', an adaptation of Leonard Cohen's
Wasis Diop's compositions are so full of exquisite
detail that they sound fresh but beautifully
dreamy on every hearing.