In Senegal Batch ran his own dance company and he has performed with the best of the West African country’s artists, including Youssou N’Dour, Baaba Maal and Cheikh Lô.
Lô, like Batch, belongs to the Senegalese Baye Fall movement, which believes hard work is a form of prayer. The group is renowned for its colourful patchwork clothes and dreaded hair, which adds extra panache to the music and dance performances.
After arriving in the UK, Batch put his many talents to work. He formed the Batch Gueye Band, releasing three albums to date. Creating a melodic mix with West African instruments, the band has performed at a host of festivals, including WOMAD in 2014.
Batch is also vocalist and sabar drummer for Fofoulah, a London-based quintet that fuses jazz and electronic with West African beats, and he has continued teaching dance in Bristol, where he runs regular workshops.
So, how has the lockdown impacted his career?
“When this happened, I did not let it go. I was doing dance lessons in the park in the summer and when it started getting cold I began teaching dance on Zoom. But all my gigs were cancelled, so I lost a lot of money,” The Batch Gueye band had planned to tour in 2020.
“It’s really tough because for all of those albums, from ‘Moytou’ (Batch Gueye Band, 2019), ‘Do You Hear Me’ and ‘In This New Land’, the money is not here – we can only sell them online. I never have funding. I’m doing everything with my pocket.”