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entertainment, Music

Youssou N’dour: The Voice of Africa

mballax“My music is like a spinning ball, … It can turn in one direction, and then it comes back to its origins.”

Youssou N’Dour  the “voice of Africa” was born on 1st October 1959 inDakar,Senegal. His father was a garage mechanic and mother was a griot (a great singer and community story teller). His father always wanted him to go to school to become a lawyer or a doctor but he had already fallen in love with music which his mum taught him at tender age. In search of a way to continue pursuing his musical career, Youssou told his poorly educated dad who didn’t want to see him sing and dance in the streets that he was going to school. Indeed, it was a music school and the father didn’t bother him again, because his beloved son was going to school. After people heard rumors of his talent, they decided to invite him to join the “Star Band.” He and his band gained popularity nationwide and they later became member of the world renowned “Super Etoile de Dakar.”… A lead singer like Youssou took the Senegalese music which is rich in drums to become popular worldwide. This type of music is known as “mbalax.”

A man of grand dreams and great voice, Youssou was able to work with famous musicians like Peter Gabriel, Wyclef, Neneh Cherry and many others. N’Dour’s unforgettable voice was much appraised in his song with Neneh Cherry- 7 seconds which entered the Guiness Book of Records. He went on to record official song for the most celebrated sports in the world— FIFA soccer World Cup (France 98).

Today, Youssou is known to many as a great Ambassador of African culture and indeed, it earned him Grammys. And according to Rolling Stone, “If any third world performer has a real shot at the sort of universal popularity last enjoyed by Bob Marley, it’s Youssou, a singer with a voice so extraordinary that the history of Africa seems locked inside it.”

Indeed, he’s a man who cares aboutAfricaand displays it at every opportunity. He’s involved in political and social issues and uses his influence to make an impact. He performed in 1985 for the release of Nelson Mandela who was later released in 1990.

For many, he’s the African Artist of the century, but Time Magazine even goes beyond to name him amongst the most influential people of 2007.




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