Sahel, like the legendary land that is its namesake

SAHEL is a band that interprets musical genres influenced by African culture around the world.

Performing Zouk, Reggae, Senegalese Mbalax, Samba, Funana, Salsa and more; Sahel’s music is blended colors of culture on the canvas of African rhythms.

Created by its multilingual lead vocalist and band leader, Jean-Francis Varre, Sahel is inspired by tradition and dedicated to the progress of music that moves the world.

Sahel Music: Promotional

Promotional video of live performance the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage. See examples of Sahel performing interpretations of music ranging Senegalese Mbalax, Salsa, Cape Verdean Morna, Samba & more!

Follow us on:

Sahel Music: Members

Jean Francis Varre

This is some text inside of a div block.

Sahel's multilingual lead vocalists and creator, Jean-Francis Varre was born to Senegalese and Cape Verdean immigrants in Washington D.C. He began singing at 13 years-old, at first in English, and later in Spanish and the languages of his heritage - French, Wolof, and Portuguese. A self taught musician, he plays bass, guitar Keyboards and percussion.
Jean-Francis has toured with British soul icon Omar and Grammy nominated salsa band Gonzalo Grau y la Clave Secreta. He has performed with local rock groups Sitali and Lucy Brown, and at various Smithsonian and D.C. Arts Commission events with a variety of projects.Bred through a wide range of genres including rock & roll, soul, salsa, zouk, samba, mbalax and Inspired by heritage and travel, Jean-Francis dedicated himself early on to building bridges for all cultures through the music of the African diaspora.

Stewart Bernard

Vocalist / Bass Player

A multi-instrumentalist and composer, Stew began playing alto saxophone and piano at the age of 12 then found his calling after borrowing a friend’s bass guitar. With a unique approach to rhythm, harmony and melody, Stew combines Afro-Cuban, blues, jazz, R&B, reggae, samba and West-African influences for various ensembles in the D.C. area.
Stew has performed with the likes of grammy nominees Cheick Hamala Diabate & Gonzalo Grau, Verny Varela, Junior Marvin and Astou Niame Kanadimi.

Malari Moore

This is some text inside of a div block.

Born in Washington DC, percussionist Malari Moore started playing West African music with KanKouran Dance Company at the age of three under the tutelage of master drummers Abdou Kounta, Papa Dam of Senegal, and Mbemba Bangoura of Guinea.
In 2006, he traveled to Guinea with FarafinaKan, where he studied with master teacher Mamady Keita.
Malari has performed with greats such as Hugh Masekela, Bjork and opened for the Beastie Boys.

Aline Varre

This is some text inside of a div block.

Aline Varre is a born and raised Washingtonian of Senegalese and Cape Verdean descent.
She started singing and acting at the age of 12. In 1998, she signed on with Lusafrica Productions, as singer for the group Kowrie- given the opportunity to work with pioneers of Cape Verdean music, such as Manu Lima, Fre’D Lima and some of Cesaria Evora’s musicians.
In 2005, she joined Ache, Washington DC’s largest Cuban Orchestra, with whom she performed locally and for various events at the Kennedy Center, and Sounds of Brazil in New York.

Malik "papa" Diouf

This is some text inside of a div block.

Drumer Malick “Papa” Diouf, was born in Dakar, Senegal.
In addition to the Sabar/Mbalax music of his heritage, Papa was influenced by fusion jazz bands like Weather Report, Electric band, Sixun, Ultramarine and Tribal tech.
After graduating high school, Papa joined the band Mengo, featuring great musicians such as Doc Samba and later toured and recorded with icons such as Thione Seck, Coumba Gawlo, Assane N’Diaye, and Ibro Diabate.In 1996, Papa moved to the US where he toured and recorded with several artists including legendary jazz pianist Dinsha Sanjana.

Contact us

Follow us on:
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.