Youssou N'Dour (French pronunciation: [jusu (ɛ)nduʁ]; born 1 October 1959) is a Senegalese singer, songwriter, composer, occasional actor, businessman, and politician. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine described him as, "perhaps the most famous singer alive" in Senegal and much of Africa. From April 2012 to September 2013, he was Senegal's Minister of Tourism.
N'Dour in Warsaw on 13 September 2009
|Minister of Tourism of Senegal|
5 April 2012 – September 2013
|Prime Minister||Abdoul Mbaye|
|Preceded by||Thierno Lo|
|Born||1 October 1959|
|Birth name||Youssou N'Dour|
|Also known as||Youssou Ndour|
|Born||1 October 1959|
N'Dour helped develop a style of popular Senegalese music known by all Senegambians (including the Wolof) as mbalax, a genre that have sacred origins in the Serer music njuup tradition and ndut initiation ceremonies. He is the subject of the award-winning films Return to Gorée (2007) directed by Pierre-Yves Borgeaud and Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love (2008) directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, which were released around the world.
Ethnically, N'Dour is Serer, born to a Serer father and a Toucouleur mother. However, culturally, N'Dour is Wolof. He was born in Dakar. He started performing at age 12 and was performing regularly with the Star Band, Dakar's most popular group during the early 1970s.
Despite N'Dour's maternal connection to the traditional griot caste, he was not raised in that tradition, which he learned instead from his siblings. His parents' world view encouraged a modern outlook, leaving him open to two cultures and thereby inspiring N'Dour's identity as a modern griot. As a Muslim, he has often incorporated aspects of Islamic music in his work.
In 1979, he formed his own ensemble, the Étoile de Dakar. His early work with the group, in the Latin style, was popular all over Africa during that time. In the 1980s, he developed a unique sound with his ultimate group, Super Étoile de Dakar featuring Jimi Mbaye on guitar, bassist Habib Faye, and tama (talking drum) player Assane Thiam.
By 1991, he had opened his own recording studio, and, by 1995, his own record label, Jololi.
N'Dour is one of the most celebrated African musicians in history. His mix of traditional Senegalese mbalax with eclectic influences ranging from Cuban rumba to hip hop, jazz, and soul won him an international fan base of millions. In the West, N'Dour collaborated with Peter Gabriel, Axelle Red, Sting, Alan Stivell, Bran Van 3000, Neneh Cherry, Wyclef Jean, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman, James Newton Howard, Branford Marsalis, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Dido, Lou Reed, Bruce Cockburn, and others.
The New York Times described his voice as an "arresting tenor, a supple weapon deployed with prophetic authority". N'Dour's work absorbed the entire Senegalese musical spectrum, often filtered through the lens of genre-defying rock or pop music from outside Senegalese culture.
In July 1993, Africa Opera composed by N'Dour premiered at the Opéra Garnier for the French Festival Paris quartier d'été.
Folk Roots magazine described him as the African Artist of the Century. He toured internationally for thirty years. He won his first American Grammy Award (best contemporary world music album) for his CD Egypt in 2005.
He is the proprietor of L'Observateur, one of the widest-circulation newspapers in Senegal, the radio station RFM (Radio Future Medias) and the TV channel TFM.
In 2002, N'Dour was honoured with a Prince Claus Award, under that year's theme "Languages and transcultural forms of expression".
In 2006, N'Dour played the role of the African-British abolitionist Olaudah Equiano in the movie Amazing Grace, which chronicled the efforts of William Wilberforce to end slavery in the British Empire.
In 2011, N'Dour was awarded an honorary doctoral degree in Music from Yale University.
In Senegal, N'Dour became a powerful cultural icon, actively involved in social issues. In 1985, he organized a concert for the release of Nelson Mandela. He was a featured performer in the 1988 worldwide Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour collaborating with Lou Reed on a version of the Peter Gabriel song "Biko" which was produced by Richard James Burgess and featured on the Amnesty International benefit album The Secret Policeman's Third Ball. He worked with the United Nations and UNICEF, and he started Project Joko to open internet cafés in Africa and to connect Senegalese communities around the world.
In 2003, N'Dour cancelled an upcoming American tour in order to publicly deny support for the upcoming American invasion of Iraq. In a public statement explaining his decision, N'Dour said:
It is my strong conviction that the responsibility for disarming Iraq should rest with the United Nations. As a matter of conscience I question the United States government's apparent intention to commence war in Iraq. I believe that coming to America at this time would be perceived in many parts of the world--rightly or wrongly--as support for this policy, and that, as a consequence, it is inappropriate to perform in the US at this juncture.
He performed in three of the Live 8 concerts (in Live 8 concert, London, Live 8 concert, Paris and at the Live 8 concert, Eden Project in Cornwall) on 2 July 2005, with Dido. He covered John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" for the 2007 CD Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. He appeared in a joint Spain-Senegal ad campaign to inform the African public about the dramatic consequences of illegal immigration. N'Dour participated in the Stock Exchange of Visions project in 2007.
In 2008, he joined the Fondation Chirac's honour committee. The same year, Youssou N'Dour's microfinance organization named Birima ("Birima" is also a song's title) was launched with the collaboration of United Colors of Benetton.
In 2009, he released his song "Wake Up (It's Africa Calling)" under a Creative Commons license to help IntraHealth International in their IntraHealth Open campaign to bring open source health applications to Africa. The song was remixed by a variety of artists including Nas, Peter Buck of R.E.M., and Duncan Sheik to help raise money for the campaign.
N'Dour is a supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation which advocates for democratic reformation of the United Nations.
At the beginning of 2012, he announced plans to stand as a candidate in the 2012 Senegalese presidential election, competing against President Abdoulaye Wade. However, he was disqualified from running in the election over the legitimacy of the signatures he had collected to endorse his campaign. N'Dour backed the opposition candidate Macky Sall, who defeated Wade in a second round of voting in March 2012. N'Dour was appointed as Minister of Culture and Tourism in April 2012 as part of the cabinet of new Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye. The story of N'Dour's presidential campaign was filmed for the PBS TV program, "Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders." Later his portfolio was modified and he was appointed as Minister of Tourism and Leisure. He was dismissed from that post on 2 September 2013, when a new government under Prime Minister Aminata Touré was appointed. N'Dour was instead appointed as Special Adviser to the President, with the rank of minister, and tasked with promoting the country abroad.
Awards and Nominations
|MOBO Awards||2001||Best World Music Act||Himself||Nominated|
|2005||Best African Act||Won|
|Victoires de la Musique||2001||World Music Album of the Year||Joko||Nominated|
|2011||Dakar – Kingston||Nominated|
- Ndiadiane Ndiaye (1982)
- Mouride (1982)
- Independance Vol. 3 (1982)
- Show!!! A Abidjan (1983)
- Djamil Inédits 84-85 (1985)
- Immigrés (1985)
- Nelson Mandela (1985)
- The Lion (1989)
- Set (1990)
- Eyes Open (1992)
- The Guide (Wommat) (1994)
- Gainde – Voices from the Heart of Africa (1995)
- Djamil (1996) – anthology
- Lii (1996)
- St. Louis (1997)
- Special Fin D'annee Plus (1999)
- Le Grand Bal a Évry (1999)
- Rewmi (1999)
- Joko: From Village to Town (2000)
- Joko: The Link (2000)
- Le Grand Bal (2000)
- Ba Tay (2001)
- Le Grand Bal a Bercy (2001)
- Nothing's in Vain (Coono Du Réér) (2002)
- Kirikou Et La Sorciere (2004)
- Egypt (2004)
- Jigeen Gni (2005) – single
- Alsaama Day (2007)
- Rokku Mi Rokka (2007) – No. 30 in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Albums of 2007.
- I Bring What I Love (2008) – film soundtrack
- Special Fin D'annee: Salagne-Salagne (2009)
- Dakar – Kingston (2010)
- Mbalakh Dafay Wakh (2011)
- Fatteliku (2014)
- #Senegaal Rek (2016)
- Africa Rekk (2016)
- Seeni Valeurs (2017)
- Respect (2018)
- History (2019)
- The Best Of Youssou N'Dour (1995)
- Euleek Sibir with Omar Pene (You et Pene) (1996)
- Immigrés/Bitim Rew (1997)
- Inedits 84–85 (1997)
- Best of the 80's (1998)
- Hey You: The Essential Collection 1988–1990 (1998)
- Birth Of A Star (2001)
- Youssou N'Dour and His Friends (2002)
- The Rough Guide To Youssou N'Dour & Etoile de Dakar (2002)
- Bercy 2004 vol. 1 & 2
- 7 Seconds: The Best Of Youssou N'Dour (Remastered) (2004)
- From Senegal to the world (2012)
- Raxas Bercy 2017 (2017)
- 1986 : So from Peter Gabriel - Backing vocals on In Your Eyes.
- 1989 : Passion from Peter Gabriel - Backing vocals on A Different Drum, Passion.
- 1990 : Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats from Peter Gabriel - Mercy Street and Shaking the Tree.
- 2000 : Album Solidays - Song Qui sait ? - For the association Solidarité sida - With Anggun, Patrick Bruel, Stephan Eicher, Faudel, Peter Gabriel, Lââm, Lokua Kanza, Nourith, Axelle Red & Zucchero.
- 2003 : Hit from Peter Gabriel - Backing vocals on In Your Eyes.
- 2005 : Live 8: One Day, One Concert, One World - DVD Various Artists - Youssou N'Dour sings 7 Seconds with Dido.
- 2005 : Live 8 Paris : DVD Various Artists - Youssou sings at the end of the concert New Africa/Lima Weesu.
- 2007 : Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign To Save Darfur Various Artists - Youssou sings Jealous Guy.
- 2008 : Bord Ezanga Kombo from Koffi Olomide - Youssou on Festival.
- 2009 : Les Amis Du Monde with the Lebanese Diva Majida El Roumi for The Francophone Games Opening - 2009 in Beirut
|Single||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"The Rubberband Man / Nelson Mandela"||1985||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Nelson Mandela|
|"Shango Affair"||1988||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Black Mic Mac 2 OST|
|"Shakin' the Tree" (with Peter Gabriel)||1989||61||—||—||—||—||—||—||9||The Lion|
|"The Lion / Gaïende"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Africa Remembers"||1992||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Eyes Open|
|"7 Seconds" (with Neneh Cherry)||1994||3||3||1||—||1||3||98||—||The Guide (Wommat)|
|"Chimes of Freedom"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"How Come" (with Canibus)||1998||52||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Bulworth OST|
|"La Cour Des Grands (A Ton Tour De Jouer)" (with Axelle Red)||—||—||16||31||—||—||—||—||official hymn of 1998 FIFA World Cup|
|"My Hope Is in You"||1999||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Joko - From Village to Town|
|"So Many Men" (with Pascal Obispo)||2002||—||—||35||27||85||—||—||—||Nothing's in Vain (Coono Du Réér)|
|"#Senegaal rekk" (with Le Super Etoile)||2016||—||—||189||—||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
Amazing Grace (2006)
- As Olaudah Equiano. "A central figure in the abolitionist movement in Great Britain, Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745–97) wrote an eyewitness account of his life as a slave and of his work in the anti-slavery movement: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano."
- As a musician on the film's soundtrack.
Retour à Gorée (2007)
- Indicates the year of ceremony. Each year is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.
- Considine, J. D., and Matos, Michaelangelo, "Biography: Youssou N'Dour" RollingStone.com, 2004.
- Sturman, Janet, The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture, SAGE Publications (2019), p. 1926 ISBN 9781483317748 (Retrieved 13 July 2019)
- Connolly, Sean, Senegal, Bradt Travel Guides (2009), p. 27, ISBN 9781784776206 (Retrieved 13 July 2019)
- In the Senegambia region as well as many African cultures, a person's ethnicity is determined by their father's line or surname. N'Dour and its variation Ndure or Ndour is a typical Serer surname. See - Mwakikagile, Godfrey, The Gambia and Its People: Ethnic Identities and Cultural Integration in Africa, New Africa Press (2010), p. 136, 141. ISBN 9789987160235
- "La musique me portait, c'était ma seule langue". Le Monde.fr (in French). 12 August 2005.
- "A song and a prayer". The Guardian. 23 May 2004.
- Llewellyn Smith, Caspar (15 June 2008). "Soundtrack of my life: Youssou N'Dour". Guardian.co.uk. London. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- Perrone, Pierre (29 May 1998). "Music: The song remains the game". London: Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- Hudson, Mark (12 December 2002). "Supernatural superstar". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "Scotland News – Listings: Critics' choice". TimesOnline.co.uk. 11 January 2004.
- Gill, Andy (14 June 2001). "Album: Bran van 3000". London: Independent.co.uk.
- Cumming, Tim (21 October 2004). "Youssou N'Dour and the Fathi Salama Orchestra, Barbican, London". Independent.co.uk.
- Powers, Ann (23 November 2000). "African Drumbeats That Shout Out in Celebration". NYTimes.com.
- "Youssou N'Dour". Polar Music Prize. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
- Moss, Stephen (21 March 2007). "I'm bringing a message". Guardian.co.uk. London.
- Burt, David; de La Bruyère, Max (23 May 2011). "University confers 2,907 degrees at 310th Commencement". The Daily Yale News. Archived from the original on 12 November 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- Scrutton, Alistair (7 May 2013). "Youssou N'Dour's work for harmony lands Swedish music prize". Reuters.
- "Youssou N'Dour". Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
- Christgau, Robert (8 June 2004). "Facing Mecca". The Village Voice. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- "Dido, Youssou and the three-gig dash". The Observer. London: Guardian.co.uk. 3 July 2005.
- "Youssou n'Dour the Africa's Music Maestro". ThisDayOnline.com. 13 June 2009. Archived from the original on 20 November 2010.
- "Honor Committee". Fondationchirac.eu. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
- "Open Initiative". IntraHealth. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "Statements". Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
- "Artists - Artists Against Racism". artistsagainstracism.org. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
- "Message Nouvel an : Youssou Ndour confirme sa candidature à la Présidentielle 2012" (in French). Seneweb. 2 January 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- Diene, Charles Gaïky. "Course à la présidentielle : Youssou Ndour sur la ligne de départ". WalFadjri (in French). Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Senegal clashes erupt as court clears Wade poll bid". BBC News. 28 January 2012.
- "Senegal musician Youssou Ndour given ministerial post". BBC News. 5 April 2012.
- "Youssou N'Dour: Shakin' the Tree | Sound Tracks". Pbs.org. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
- "Sénégal : un nouveau gouvernement formé, sans le chanteur Youssou Ndour", Agence France-Presse, 2 September 2013 (in French).
- "C’est officiel : Youssou N'dour nommé Conseiller spécial, avec rang de ministre", Dakaractu, 9 September 2013 (in French).
- Benjamin Roger, "Yasmina Khadra, Youssou N’Dour, George Weah… Ces personnalités qui rêvaient d’être président", Jeune Afrique, 8 November 2013 (in French).
- "Mobos 2001: The winners". News.bbc.co.uk. 4 October 2001.
- "Mobo Awards 2003: The nominees". News.bbc.co.uk. 1 September 2003.
- "Mobo Awards 2004: The nominees". News.bbc.co.uk. 24 August 2004.
- "Mobo awards 2005: The winners". News.bbc.co.uk. 22 September 2005.
- "Les Victoires de La Musique - Palmarès 2001". Francetv.fr.
- "Les Victoires de La Musique - Palmarès 2011". Francetv.fr.
- CHRISTGAU, ROBERT; FRICKE, DAVID; HOARD, CHRISTIAN; SHEFFIELD, ROB, "The Top 50 Albums of 2007" RollingStone.com, 17 December 2007
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 388. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Australian chart peaks:
- Top 50 peaks: "australian-charts.com > Youssou N'Dour in Australian Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
- "Undecided": "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received 14 July 2015". Imgur.com. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
- "Youssou N'Dour - French Chart". lescharts.com. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- "Youssou N'Dour - Walloon Chart". ultratop.be. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- "Youssou N'Dour - Swiss Chart". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- "Youssou N'Dour - German Chart". germancharts.de. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- "Youssou N'Dour – US Billboard Hot 100 Chart". billboard.com. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- "Youssou N'Dour - US Alternative Songs". billboard.com. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- Regnier, Isabelle (1 April 2008). ""Retour à Gorée" : la force de la musique des esclaves noirs au détriment de la vérité historique". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- Curiel, Jonathan, "Return to Gorée" (review), San Francisco Chronicle, 19 September 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Youssou N'Dour.|
- Youssou N'Dour – official site (in French)
- Youssou N'Dour discography at Discogs
- Youssou N'Dour at African Music Encyclopedia
- Youssou N'Dour interview at Afropop Worldwide, May 2004
- Youssou N'Dour World Music Legends at GlobalRhythm.net
- Youssou N'Dour article Senegal Superstar Wins Grammy for "Egypt" at World Beat Planet, 16 February 2005
- Youssou N'Dour article Youssou N'Dour, "Egypt" and Islam on National Public Radio
- Youssou N'Dour on IMDb
- Youssou N'Dour film Youssou N'Dour: I bring what I love at IMDb
- Youssou N'Dour role in the film Amazing Grace
- Youssou N'Dour video interview Visions of Youssou N'Dour on Stock Exchange of Visions
- Youssou N'Dour at IntraHealth Open, featuring N'Dour's track "Wake Up (It's Africa Calling)"