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News & Reviews

  • Youssou N'Dour to Receive 2013 Polar Music Prize in Stockholm Concert Hall Ceremony

    Youssou N'Dour will receive the Polar Music Prize in a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall this evening. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden will present the awards to N'Dour and his fellow laureate, composer Kaija Saariaho. The ceremony, televised on Sweden's TV4, is part of a week-long celebration, which includes a photo exhibit, talks with the laureates, and the Polar Music Prize Concert featuring a performance from N'Dour and his band Super Étoile de Dakar on Wednesday.

  • Youssou N'Dour Named Senegal's Minister of Culture and Tourism

    Senegalese singer-songwriter-activist Youssou N'Dour, who released five albums on Nonesuch Records over the span of a decade, has been named Senegal's Minister of Culture and Tourism in the new government formed by Prime Minister Abdul Mbaye. N'Dour is one of 25 ministers that make up the cabinet of the country's new President, Macky Sall. N'Dour helped to celebrate Sall's inauguration with a live performance in Dakar.

About this Album

2004 Grammy Award Winner

While Youssou N’Dour’s international releases have always combined Senegalese musical traditions with outside sources of inspiration, Egypt takes a fresh approach; on this album, the rhythms and melodies of Senegal drive arrangements featuring Egyptian and Arabian orchestral sounds. Featuring traditional musicians in Dakar and in Cairo, Egypt’s lyrics demonstrate a distinctly Senegalese way of Islam, and of Sufi thought and practice, with references to venerated caliphs, saints, and sages. The making of the album, and the public's reaction to it, has now been documented in the award-winning film Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love, by director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi; you can watch the trailer for the film at nonesuch.com/media.

Muslim life in Senegal is centered in the country’s Sufi communities, which have adapted to the modern rhythms of post-independence Africa. N’Dour, who sought to explore the links between his homeland’s religious beliefs and that of Muslims in Egypt and the Middle East, has explained that Egypt is an album that “praises the tolerance of my religion”—a religion that in recent times has come to be both misunderstood and misinterpreted by commentators and adherents alike.

The New York Times has called N’Dour “one of the world’s greatest singers” and has described his voice as an “arresting tenor, a supple weapon deployed with prophetic authority.” Renowned for his remarkable range and poise and for his prodigious musical intelligence as a writer, bandleader, and producer, N’Dour absorbs the entire Senegalese musical spectrum in his work, often filtering this through the lens of genre-defying rock or pop music from outside his culture. N’Dour has made mbalax—a blend of Senegal’s traditional griot percussion and praise-singing with Afro-Cuban music—famous throughout the world during more than twenty years of recording and touring outside of Senegal with his band, The Super Étoile.

Credits

MUSICIANS
Youssou N’Dour, lead vocals
Kabou Guèye, backing vocals
Souka Guèye, backing vocals
Mama Guèye, backing vocals
Babou Laye, kora (West African harp-lute)
Mbaye Dieye Faye, various Senegalese percussion
Beugue Fallou Ensemble, various Senegalese percussion and backing vocals

The Fathy Salama Orchestra, featuring:
Fathy Salama, arranger and conductor
Yuri Kablotsky, Midhat Abd El Sameeh, first violin
Mamdouh El Gibally, oud (Arab lute)
Abdallah Helmy, kawala (Egyptian oblique flute)
Mostafa Abd El Azeez, arghul (Egyptian double-reed bamboo wind instrument)
Shaker, rababa (two-stringed Arab fiddle)
Shibl, magruna (Egyptian double-reed bamboo wind instrument)
Hasaneen Hindy, mizmar (Egyptian double-reed bell-shaped wind instrument)
Ramadan Mansoor, tabla (Egyptian hand drum)
Ayman Sidky, doholla (Egyptian hand drum, bass tabla)
Ahmed El Gazar, sagat (Egyptian hand cymbals)
Yaser Mal Allah, various Arab Gulf percussion
Bisheer Ewees, bass violin
Vassily, bass violin
Hassan Khaleel, score manager

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Youssou N’Dour & Fathy Salama
Recorded at Hany Mihanna Studio (Cairo) by Khalid Ra’ouf and at Mix Studio (Cairo) by Alaa El-Kashif;
and at Studio Xippi (Dakar) by Segui Niang and Ndiaga N’Dour
Mixed by Philippe Brun at Mrs. Jones Productions (Paris)
Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, Maine

All songs written by Youssou N’Dour/Kabou Guèye

Design by Frank Olinsky
Photography by Véronique Rolland

Executive Producer: Birame Ndiaye

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