Maabo group has quickly become a household name in Senegal. The band was set up by Mia Guisse and Abdoul Guisse, two young Senegalese up-and-coming artists at the time.
The duo first met in 2012 in the Senegalese capital Dakar through a relative. Abdoul aka No Face Undercova (NFU) was a sound engineer running Undercova Production, an independent label based in Dakar.
“Abdoul was introduced to me by my uncle Ahmadu Guisse,” Mia recalls. “I started doing music well before I knew him. But because he was a good music producer, my uncle thought it was wise that we worked together.”
For the next few weeks and then months, Mia and Abdoul spent a lot of time together in the studio writing and singing songs. For Mia, the opportunity to work together with her music partner meant she’d improve her knowledge and experience in music. It was just music that fascinated her. But Abdoul had a different idea and thought the whole time. His feelings for Mia were changing and because he loved having her around, he made sure they spent a lot of time together in the studio working on music tracks.
“I had a crush on her the first day we met. I realised that the more good songs we produced together, the more chance I had to be in a relationship with her,” Abdoul tells The Chronicle, laughing.
“I asked for her phone number and we started sharing love messages after studio sessions that would bring about this relationship today.”
In 2015, Abdoul married Mia and they formed the Maabo group.
“I realised that even though I did sing with other people and I’ve written songs with other people, there was a special connection between me and Mia. It was something very good. We got to the point that I’d write songs quicker when I was with her than when I was with other people. It just felt right with Mia.”
Abdoul and Mia produced their first video song titled “Queen Xol” in 2015, and then the popular “Yako Waral” in 2017. Both videos attracted millions of views on YouTube. Yako Waral won the 2017 Raaya Award.
Today, Mia and Abdoul are collectively seen as an example of a beautiful love story. Most of their songs are about the beauty of love and relationship.
“I think that every person has his or her own means of expression. Some dance. Others write or paint. For us, we found in music a weapon that suits us and with which we manage to give hope to people, especially couples,” says Mia.
“I have realized a lot of young men and women in The Gambia and Senegal look up to us and we feel proud about that. Our mission is not only to entertain people, but to also inspire couples on how to happily live together as husband and wife.”
Maabo has been performing in The Gambia where its fan base is increasing. In the past, Abdoul produced music for Gambian artistes including S.T and T Smallz. He’s the producer behind most of the songs in S.T’s popular album, Saluto.