by A. Scott Galloway
Senegalese singer/songwriter Youssou NDOUR seeks nothing less than to unite the continent of Africa, while linking it with the rest of a united and enlightened Earth via the blended harmonies of his music and his messages. His 34th and most recent recording, Africa Rekk! (Africa and that’s final!), was released in November of 2016 - his first CD in six years following a stint as Senegal’s Minister of Culture and Tourism. Now that NDOUR’s status has shifted to Minister Advisor to the President, he is once again able to tour with his band, melding the messages of his heart with the music of mbalax (pronounced “em – bah – lah”), a traditional music of Senegal. NDOUR’s thrilling concert makes its sole Southern California stop under the stars at the Ford Theatres on Sunday, August 6.
An evening with Youssou NDOUR promises to span the soothing acoustic folk songs “Bull Ko Door” and “Food For All” (in Wolof and English, respectively), songs from his Bob Marley tribute CD Dakar–Kingston to the possibility of a fresh solo interpretation of his international hit “7 Seconds” (recorded with Neneh Cherry in 1994) to danceable tracks such as “Dawal.” The NDOUR concert experience is equal parts wraparound warmth and kinetic excitement from a man whose artistry chafes in the face of perceived boundaries. His musical legacy includes collaborating with such rock ‘n’ roll royalty as Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel and Sting.
Among the most exciting new developments for NDOUR since his triumphant return to music is a collaboration with superstar Akon, who was born in America but raised in Senegal. Together, Youssou and Akon form the duo Song Dann to deliver the duet “Conquer the World” on NDOUR’s record (on which Akon sings in the Wolof language for the first time).
Youssou NDOUR’s music is generated top to bottom by bridge-crossing collaboration: his album was recorded in Dakar, Senegal and mixed in Paris, France; melding his 56 years of experience with that of today’s young generation of artists such as singer Spotless (from Nigeria) and producer Hakim (born in California now living in The Gambia), plus Fally Ipupa, “the Kinshasa Di Caprio,” who embodies an Africa where synthesizers merge with tama, balafon and djembe drums.
Youssou NDOUR in concert guarantees indelible impressions upon the heart, mind, spirit and feet – translating into an unforgettable experience for all ages.
Youssou NDOUR performs for one night only on Sunday, August 6 at 8:00PM at the Ford Theatres. Tickets and info here. Get inspired by watching these two music videos of Africa Rekk!’s most galvanizing songs: “Serigne Fallou” and “Be Careful.”