b. Fatou Binetou Diouf, June 1964, Dakar, Senegal. Guewel sang at baptisms and traditional ceremonies from a young age, later becoming the vocalist with a small theatrical dance troupe. In 1992 she performed with the Ensemble Lyrique Traditional de Theatre National, and formed her own Groupe Sope Noreyni with musicians who, like Guewel, belonged to the small African Muslim Moundes sect. Towards the end of 1992 she released her debut cassette with the band, which enjoyed only limited success within the local market. In 1994 she made a hugely successful appearance on national television in Senegal and toured throughout the country. Later that year she released Santa - Ti Cheikh Ibra Fall, her second cassette, which became an instant hit. Guewel left the Ensemble Lyrique Traditional de Theatre National in 1995 in order to concentrate on her own career. Following a tour of West Africa (the first time she had performed outside of her homeland), she released her third cassette, Funde Santa Bamba, which became an even greater success than its predecessor. In 1996 she toured outside Africa for the first time, performing in the USA, Italy and France. Two years later she released Santeti Mame Diarra Boasse, her fourth Senegalese cassette, and also Fatou, her international debut. It featured tracks from her first three cassettes and introduced audiences to her powerful, wailing vocals and raw, percussive ‘street mbalax’ style, a more rootsy form of the music performed by artists such as Yousou N’Dour and Baaba Maal.