Youssou N’Dour, 24 août 2016 20:00, Usher Hall
Youssou N’Dour is almost certainly the greatest figure in African music. He has been mesmerising audiences for more than three decades with his unmistakable soaring tenor, mixing Senegal’s ancient traditions with eclectic world influences from Cuban rumba to hip-hop, jazz and soul. He produces explosive music of joy, reverence and enormous emotional power that sings of Africa’s identity, heritage and hopes.
This special Edinburgh International Festival concert marks his first appearance in Scotland for many years, a rare opportunity to experience his exuberant live show bringing together recent and classic songs.
He has collaborated with a huge cross-section of eminent contemporary musicians, including Sting, Neneh Cherry, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Regular collaborator and close friend Peter Gabriel called him ‘simply one of the best singers alive’. He wrote an African opera for the Paris Opera in 1993.
Youssou N’Dour has been performing to admiring crowds since before his teens, and his remarkable voice captured the mood of the Senegalese nation eager to rediscover its cultural identity after centuries of colonialism. With his band Le Super Étoile de Dakar, which he founded in 1979, he has produced dozens of classic albums, including the provocative 2004 Egypt, blending Sufi devotional music with Senegalese rhythms, dedicated to celebrating the tolerant values of his Islamic faith.
Throughout his international music career, N’Dour has maintained a special focus on the social problems of his native Senegal, standing to become the country’s president in 2012, and later serving as Senegal’s minister for culture and tourism, and as a presidential adviser. He has constantly championed progressive social causes, and has worked closely with Amnesty International, the UN and UNICEF.
His music, however, remains complex, rich, grounded in his African traditions – and indescribably funky.
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