It is with great pride that Bluesfest announces Youssou NDour will play at their 2018 festival. According to Rolling Stone “N’Dour is perhaps the most famous singer alive in Senegal and much of Africa”, however he has also become known to Australian audiences through his work with Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel and through his smash hit 1994 single “7 Seconds” featuring Nenah Cherry.
Six years after his Bob Marley cover on the Dakar-Kingston album, NDour who is known as the Prince of the Medina of Dakar has been back in the recording studio. While serving as Minister of Culture and then Tourism for Senegal in the government of President Macky Sall (elected in 2012), N’dour put his artistic activities on hold, but his current status as ‘Minister Advisor to the President’ has given him more leeway.
“In Africa, there’s a dynamic movement driven by culture. Africa needs a smile on its face and must show its strengths. Senegal is a strong, pacific country with deep roots. It is developing a very civic coexistence between its 95% Muslims and 5% Christians – the community of Leopold Sédar Senghor, the Christian President of a Muslim country.”
In 2016 NDour released ‘AfricaRekk’ on Jive/Sony Music. The album was recorded in Dakar at the Studios Prince Arts, “which belongs to my brothers and sisters. “It’s a Pan-African album,” he explains “the first of its kind since Egypt in 2004, when I showed that Africa was one, from the Cape to Algiers and as far as Cairo.” ‘AfricaRekk’ is Africa celebrated by Youssou N’Dour, with all its modern and traditional compartments. It features Mbalax, the Wolof beat, but as part of a blend: “for instance, with rumba and other rhythms. It’s an umbilical cord that links all of Africa.” To weave his tapestry with all its fine details of music and sound, Youssou brought in a number of young people who had created an amazing urban music – a sound of the street. They included Nigeria’s Spotless, brother of the star Tekno Miles, and producer Hakim, born in California and living in The Gambia. The credits also feature Fally Ipupa, ‘the Kinshasa Di Caprio’, “who embodies that Africa where tradition and modernity meet,” an Africa where keyboards and machines merge with tama, balafon and djembe.
NDour has a gift for honouring the past while looking to the future. His voice remains as powerful and relevant as ever and Bluesfest is proud to share it with their audience in 2018.
Youssou NDour is playing Bluesfest on Friday the 30th March, 2018