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News & Reviews
- Tuesday, August 27, 2013
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.
- Thursday, April 5, 2012
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
Nonesuch releases the soundtrack from the critically acclaimed documentary about African superstar Youssou N’Dour I Bring What I Love. The album features all-new recordings of music from throughout N’Dour’s career as well as two new songs, including the documentary’s title theme, written by N’Dour, Martin Davich, and the film’s composer James Newton Howard. The soundtrack to the stirring film by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi richly represents the music and the message of N’Dour the artist and the humanitarian.
With his 2004 Nonesuch release Egypt, N’Dour won raves around the globe. For the album, N’Dour collaborated with Egyptian composer Fathy Salama to create music in praise of the major figures of Senegalese Sufi Islam. Ironically, the album was met with worldwide critical acclaim yet lambasted in Senegal, where it was seen as blasphemous for a pop star to sing of such sacred things. Public sentiment in the artist’s home country changed, however, when the album was awarded the 2005 Grammy for best Contemporary World Music Album, a first for both N’Dour and Senegal.
Award-winning filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi was on hand for the duration of this turbulent period of N’Dour’s career, documenting the singer’s personal, musical, and spiritual journey. Vasarehelyi was first inspired by the power of N’Dour’s music and message. “I was drawn most of all to the hope Youssou creates,” she said, continuing: “Although his is one of the most popular voices coming out of Africa, many people around the world still don’t know his work. So I wanted to make a film that would illuminate Youssou’s life and his message for others to discover.”
The resulting film, Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love, was premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews. Now magazine called it “brilliant,” praising Vasarhelyi’s “ability to keep a tight grip on the narrative through many turns without losing sight of the central figure or the essential human element,” while Rolling Stone dubbed it one of five essential rock movies at the Toronto International Film Festival.
A key element of Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love is the music itself. The Washington Post remarked that, within the film, “the most powerful element is N’Dour’s lone voice, a thing of high, pure beauty that feels at once ancient and new.” The Chicago Tribune agreed, saying “N’Dour’s piercing brilliance as a singer, and the irresistible Afro-Caribbean beat of his band’s compositions, bring the issues home.” That irresistible music is featured on Music from I Bring What I Love, including live and studio performances of compositions drawn from throughout N’Dour’s illustrious career, as well as two new songs: the title track and “Yonnent (The Messenger),” a moving duet with Moustapha Mbaye, known in Senegal as “the Prophet’s Griot.” These two tracks illustrate the source of N’Dour’s success: he has reached out to the world while remaining true to Africa, Senegal, and his humanitarian message. In the words of the Chicago Sun-Times, “N’Dour is the sort of humanitarian bridge that we need in a world so sharply divided.”
Youssou N’Dour, vocals (1-11)
The Super Étoile (2, 3, 7-10)
Mustapha Mbaye, Griot vocals (4)
Martin Davich, piano (1)
Marc Bonilla, acoustic guitar (1)
Jean Philippe Rykiel, keyboards & horns (1)
Ali Wade, flute (1)
Michael Mason, additional percussion (1)
Baboulaye Sissoko, kora (4-6)
Thio Mbaye, percussion (4-6)
Babacar “Mbaye Dieye” Faye, percussion (4)
Adama Sissoko, balaphone (4-6)
Papa Oumar Ngom, guitar (4-6)
Ibrahima N’Dour, keyboards (4)
The Fathy Salama Orchestra (5, 6)
Fathy Salama, arranger and conductor (5, 6)
Papa Oumar Ngom, guitar (5)
Kabou Gueye, Birame Dieng, Ami Colle Dienge, backing vocals (5, 6)
Habib Faye, keyboard (11)
Abdoulaye Lo, drums (11)
Produced by Chai Vasarhelyi
Executive Producers: Michelle Lahana, Edward Tyler Nahem, and Miklos Vasarhelyi
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York
Mixed by Philippe Brun at Bois & Charbon, Paris (except “Birima,” mixed by Nou Schneider at Studio Gaga, Hamburg)
Track 1 recorded by Mark Cross; produced by Martin Davich and Michael Mason
Track 2, 7, 8, 10 recorded by Philippe Brun at “Just For You,” Dakar; Monitors: Mamadou “Pape” N’Dour; Executive Producer: Boubacar N’Dour
Track 3 recorded by Dan Lacksman at Studio Syncsound Brussels
Track 4 recorded by Prince Mactar N’Dour at Studio Xippi Dakar; produced by Ibrahima N’Dour
Tracks 5, 6 recorded by: Chai Vasarhelyi; Monitors: Rob de Vries; Live Sound Engineer: Steve “Goth” Greenwood
Track 9, 11 recorded by: Chai Vasarhelyi; Monitors: Prince Mactar N’Dour; Live Sound Engineer: Steve “Goth” Greenwood
Technical director: Prince Mactar N’Dour (2, 7, 8, 10)
All songs by Youssou N'Dour, with Martin Davich/James Newton Howard (1); Mamadou Mbaye/Ndeye Mbaye Djinema-Djinema (3); Moustapha Mbaye (4); Jonathan Sharp/Simon Richmond/Steve Hopwood (5); Jimmy Mbaye/Thomas Rome/Boubacar N’Dour, Youssou N’Dour/Kabou Guèye (6); Kabou Gueye/Max Calo (8); Jean-Philippe Rykiel (9); Max Calo/Kabou Gueye/Habib Faye (10); Habib Faye (11).
Youssou N’Dour portrait by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
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