Senegalese singer-songwriter, actor, and politician Youssou N’Dour, was born 1 October 1959. In 2004, Rolling Stone described him as, “perhaps the most famous singer alive” in Senegal and much of Africa. Since April 2012, he has been Senegal’s Minister of Tourism and Culture.N’Dour helped to develop a style of popular Senegalese music known in the Serer languageas mbalax, which derives from the conservative Serer music tradition of “Njuup”. He is the subject of the award-winning films Return to Goree directed Pierre-Yves Borgeaud and Youssou N’Dour. He started his music career in 1979, when he formed his own ensemble, the Étoile de Dakar. His early work with the group was in the Latin style 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, bassistHabib Faye, and Tama (talking drum) player Assane Thiam. By 1991 he had opened his own recording studio, Xippi, 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 withPeter Gabriel, Axelle Red, Sting, Alan Stivell, Bran Van 3000, Neneh Cherry, Wyclef Jean, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen,Tracy Chapman, Branford Marsalis, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Dido and others.
Youssou N’Dour Festival de Fes http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dAEVwoDSxJs
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, an African opera composed by N’Dour premiered at the Opéra Garnier for the French Festival Paris quartier d’été.He wrote and performed the official anthem of the 1998 FIFA World Cup with Axelle Red “La Cour des Grands”. 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 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 2008, N’Dour offered one of his compositions, Bébé, for the French singer Cynthia Brown. In 2011, N’Dour was awarded an honorary doctorate in Music from Yale University. In 2013, N’Dour won a share of Sweden’s $150,000 Polar music prize for promoting understanding between faiths as well as for his music.
In 16 October 2000 N’Dour was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) . In Senegal, N’Dour became a powerful cultural icon, actively involved in social issues. In 1985, he organized a concert for the release ofNelson Mandela. He was a featured performer in the 1988 worldwide Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour collaborating withLou 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. He performed in three of the Live 8concerts (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 2007 he became a council member of the World Future Council.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 Benetton United Colors.In 2009, he released his song “Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling)” under a Creative Commons license to help IntraHealth International in theirIntraHealth Open campaign to bring open source health applications to Africa. The song was also remixed by a variety of artists including Nas, Peter Buck of R.E.M, and Duncan Sheik to help raise money for the campaign.