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

BOB MARLEY REMEMBERED IN NEW ZEALAND (2009): The symmetry of commemorations

BOB MARLEY REMEMBERED IN NEW ZEALAND (2009): The symmetry of commemorations

Summertime in the late Nineties and I am walking in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Around the corner come two Maori guys who greet me with eyebrow flashes and a hefty, "Kia ora."... > Read more

DubXanne: The Police in Dub (Echo Beach/Yellow Eye)

DubXanne: The Police in Dub (Echo Beach/Yellow Eye)

This is how I like my Police. Without Sting. As with that yelping guy in Yes and few others, I find Sting's voice very hard to take. Although I concede that when I consider their album sales... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (1977)

Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express (1977)

In the rush to acclaim Kraftwerk as electro-pioneers, it is often overlooked how they grew out of the German avant-garde/post-hippie prog-rock scene. As Organisation and on the first two Kraftwerk... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Fargo, The Complete First Season (DVD)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Fargo, The Complete First Season (DVD)

Just as the television series Fargo -- based on the Coen brothers much acclaimed mid-Nineties film of the same name -- started screening in New Zealand, a well placed television critic went into... > Read more