Youssou N'Dour: Dakar-Kingston (Universal)

 |   |  <1 min read

Youssou N Dour: Bamba
Youssou N'Dour: Dakar-Kingston (Universal)

After decades of almost becoming the biggest star out of Africa and commanding a global audience (support from Peter Gabriel, the 7 Seconds single with Neneh Cherry, Mandela concerts and so on) N'Dour must find it frustrating that he never quite made the leap that Bob Marley did out of Jamaica.

His early albums remain his best -- although Egypt recorded in Cairo in 2003 was a late careeer high -- but here as the title suggests he tries to bridge African music out of his native Senegal with the sound of reggae and a cracking band from Kingston which includes bassist Michale Fletcher and guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith alongside African percussion players.

But from the opener -- a salute to Marley which lifts key phrases from his catalogue -- through the polite manoeuvres of the beach-friendly Bololene to Tyrone Downie's MOR Black Woman and songs where the professionals are clearly enjoying the pan-African vibe but largely on auto-pilot this really disappoints.

Of course with that yearning voice not everything is mundane, but far too much is for this to be satisfying -- and sometimes this plods (Africa Dream Again with Ayo) when it should soar.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Reggae articles index

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Peter Tosh; Legalize It (Sony Legacy)

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Peter Tosh; Legalize It (Sony Legacy)

This expanded-to-double-vinyl edition re-presents the '76 debut by the former Wailer who carried a number from that band into the sessions. While Bob Marley delivered the serious Rastaman... > Read more

BOB MARLEY FOR BEGINNERS (2012): Bob's business is big business

BOB MARLEY FOR BEGINNERS (2012): Bob's business is big business

With the DVD release of the doco Marley by Kevin MacDonald, interest is again ignited in this musical, political and religious figure who is often lazily billed as "the first Third World... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Arsen Petrosyan: Charentsavan; Music for Armenian Duduk

Arsen Petrosyan: Charentsavan; Music for Armenian Duduk

The acknowledged master of the Armenian duduk — a double-reed flute capable of deep emotional expression in the right hands — is Djivan Gasparian, but already the young Petrosyan is... > Read more

Austin, Texas: The dream deferred

Austin, Texas: The dream deferred

For a sensitive, gay New York Jew he sure picked a helluva place to live: Texas, the home of rednecks, Stetsons, and chicken-fried steak, that peculiar delicacy which is a perfectly good piece of... > Read more