Similar artists



Pop - Released May 31, 2004 | Nonesuch

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Youssou N'Dour's Egypt is a radical change of pace for the Senegalese singer/songwriter. Throughout his career, N'Dour has adapted his indigenous musical heritage to the pop sounds of world music. On Egypt, N'Dour and his quartet have created rhythmic and melodic arrangements for material from the Arabic world. Joining N'Dour's quartet for this recording is the renowned Fathy Salama Orchestra, a 14-piece traditional music ensemble. The material is traditional Sufi music, and N'Dour has applied, via the score's director, Hassan Khaleel, Senegalese rhythms and folk melodies to exist in concert with the time-honored originals. The effect is nothing less than startling. N'Dour goes deep into the heart of Senegalese Sufism, tracing the lines where terrains, spiritual practices, and of course musical ideas meet, meld, and change. Unlike his previous recordings, the organic and sacred character of this music seems to stand outside of time and space; it wails and warbles, croons and groans. It is the music of joy and reverence and, as it bridges the various aspects of Islamic cultural traditions, one hopes it can create, via the sheer beauty of its sound and the translation of its lyrics, a portrait of a world that is far different from the one portrayed by Western media constructs. ~ Thom Jurek

Africa - Released April 26, 2019 | Naive

Youssou N’Dour is nothing new to music history. His long and sparkling career has touched Senegalese souls since the start of the 80s and western ears since the mid-90s. The "Nightingale of Dakar" is today recognized as one of the most beautiful African voices. At a time where urban West African music is influencing productions worldwide, Youssou cements his role as an intergenerational inspiration, revisiting his past and that of his predecessors as well as welcoming young artists with promising futures. History begins with a homage to his touring companion Habib Faye, Super Etoile’s historical bassist who recently passed away. The first number holds his name and the fourth, Ay Conno, his style. It consists of a revisiting of some of his old songs like Salimata and Birima, a cover suggested to him by Seinabo Sey, a young and powerful singer of Gambian origin, born and living in Sweden. This association would never have formed without his greatest success, 7 seconds, sung with Neneh Cherry, a fellow Swedish resident. Mohombi (Hello), whose prominence was boosted by associations with Akon, Nelly and Pitbull is another Swedish native certainly loyal to the Senegalese artist. Another remarkable collaboration with contemporary music is Tell Me composed by Mike Banger, producer for the New-Orleans rapper, Lil Wayne. This youthful entourage that constitutes his admirers, should surely guarantee the enthusiasm and curiosity of the younger generations. But the most emotional aspect of this album is that it awakens the memory of a pioneer of African who transmitted his culture to the western world. Takuta and My Child are songs, that were until now unrealized, of Nigerian vocalist and percussionist Babatunde Olatunji, who played a predominant role in the conveyance of African culture to the United States in the 60s. Shortly before his death in 2003, Olatunji entrusted his recordings to his nephew who had the bright idea of passing them on to the Senegalese star. It is a successful mix. The virtual duo are more reason to focus on such an important part of musical history. © Benjamin Minimum/Qobuz

Africa - Released November 4, 2016 | Jive Epic


Pop/Rock - Released February 24, 2004 | Columbia - Legacy

This 16-track compilation covers Senegalese singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Youssou N'Dour's Columbia Records period, from 1991 to 1996. Perhaps the most popular pop culture figure in Senegal's history, N'Dour created a music of his own from various sources, which he called "mbalax" and which incorporates everything from jazz, soul, hard R&B styles, hip-hop, and even Cuban samba, and juxtaposes them with the folk melodies and polyrhythms of his native land. The cuts here, particularly "Old Man," "New Africa," "Yo le Le, (Fulani Rhythm)," and the covers of Smokey Robinson's "Don't Look Back," and Lennon and McCartney's "Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da," reveal N'Dour's idiosyncratic, yet very accessible grasp and integration of Western and African pop styles. ~ Thom Jurek

Africa - Released November 30, 2018 | Prince Arts


Africa - Released March 15, 2019 | Naive


Africa - Released October 16, 2015 | Real World Records


World - Released January 1, 1990 | Virgin Records

Peformance "Explosive" / Recording "Very good" - "...packs a transcultural wallop. He remains true to the pop style of his native Senegal, rich with rhythm upon rhythm and delicate interweaving melodies, but he also explodes with the kind of kinetic power we expect from rock-and-roll...maybe someone should create a Nobel Prize for music and give it to N'Dour."

World - Released May 20, 1994 | Columbia

Youssou N'Dour is a Senegalese singer who documents the intersection of the past and the present, so it is no surprise that there is a parable in every song on Wommat (The Guide). The record is propelled by talking drums, a horn section and guitar and bass polyrhythms that will sound familiar to fans of South African township music (or Paul Simon's masterpiece Graceland), and N'Dour's distinctive voice (in Wolof and French, with a smattering of English) is captivating. Unfortunately, The Guide is overproduced and seldom lives up to the promise of "7 Seconds," the vaguely menacing duet with Neneh Cherry. Buy it to hear N'Dour's voice soar through the history and lessons of The Guide. ~ Peter Stepek

World - Released October 20, 2017 | Jive Epic


World - Released August 1, 2017 | Jive Epic


World - Released June 3, 2013 | Metro


World - Released January 1, 1989 | Virgin Records

N'Dour's big crossover album has several English-language songs. It's good, but not great work. ~ J. Poet

World - Released October 29, 2007 | Nonesuch

Like his last two releases for Nonesuch, 2002's Nothing's in Vain and 2004's stunning Egypt, Youssou N'Dour's Rokku Mi Rokka (Give and Take) is a glistening, polished work that perpetuates the singer's recurring role as one of Africa's greatest gifts to music. Where Egypt was something of a side trip for N'Dour, a tribute to his Sufi faith, Rokku Mi Rokka takes on more of a mainstream melodic pop sheen, with an eye toward the northern desert country for inspiration. N'Dour, in addition to using his regular musicians, reunites here with members of his early-career Super Etoile de Dakar band as well as other players with whom he's been comfortable for years (gotta love Ali Farka Touré sideman Bassekou Kouyate on the four-stringed n'goni), so the results are familiar and the groove locked in tight. Neneh Cherry, who performed a duet with N'Dour on 1994's hit "7 Seconds," returns for a rap on the album-closing mbalax-funk anthem "Wake Up (It's Africa Calling)," which implores the Western world to stop taking Africa for granted and look to the continent for positive vibrations. The opening track, "4-4-44," is a celebration of 44 years of Senegal's independence, bathed in driving, repetitive keyboard riffs, a persistent rhythmic punch, and a midsong horn blast that provides a sudden Memphis-esque R&B kick. As always, much of N'Dour's songwriting addresses tradition and its role in an Africa struggling toward modernization. There are songs of love and songs of politics and spirit. "Tukki" is little more than a simple paean to the joys of traveling, and "Xel" exhorts humans to do the obvious: use their brains and think. But then there's "Sportif," with its drum lick right out of a New Orleans second-line march, whose sole purpose is to remind countrymen that there's no need to take it personally if a favorite wrestler loses a match -- it's only a sport. Go figure. Nonetheless, Youssou N'Dour is never less than thoughtful and intriguing, and his voice is never less than gripping. Rokku Mi Rokka is another gem from an artist who has come to define the African music renaissance. ~ Jeff Tamarkin

World - Released July 1, 2016 | Interra


World - Released August 1, 2006 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

In essence, this is a reworking of Joko From Village to Town, which only appeared in Europe. However, slimmed down a bit by removing most of the duets (only "This Dream," featuring mentor Peter Gabriel, survives the cut) and all the remixes, it's definitely leaner and meaner. N'Dour has often been rightly accused of released watered-down albums for a non-African audience, but the addition of two Senegalese cuts, "Miss" and "Madema (The Electricity Is Out Again)," both fine examples of his hard Dakar m'balax style, show that Western audiences can readily accept the real thing. N'Dour himself might have lost a vocal step or two since the glory days of the 1980s, but he can still come in high and sweet with that remarkable voice, like a muezzin calling the faithful to prayer, and outsing most people on the planet. The band, too, is in superb form, with longtime bassist/arranger Habib Faye and outstanding bastion. The record's at its best when it's just N'Dour and the band, flying full throttle, with the tama drum chattering and skittering across the complex dance rhythm. When it slows up, as on "This Dream," and programming becomes a part of the equation, something's definitely lost, be it excitement or spontaneity. The exception is in the epic closer, "Red Dirt," an eloquent plea for Africa, with N'Dour at his impassioned best. All too often, re-jigging an album is a sign of failure; in this case, it's a sign of success. ~ Chris Nickson

World - Released October 21, 2002 | Nonesuch

There's been a back-to-acoustic-roots trend among African artists recently, and even the big names don't seem exempt. Salif Keita's done it, and here Youssou N'Dour's at it -- which proves to be no bad thing. His recent output has been quite schizophrenic, divided between albums aimed at a Western audience and those for his native Senegal, with the more hardcore m'balax sound that made him popular in the first place reserved for the African releases. While the easy melodies of Nothing's in Vain (Coono Du Réér) place it far more within the Afro-pop category than much of his previous work, it's still a real gem, bringing in traditional musicians alongside his band, as on the opening "Tan Bi," which works gorgeously, the harp-like kora intersecting with N'Dour's rhythm section. The keening griot wail which has typified so much of his work is absent here, allowing for more subtlety of infection and tone. While that might be a bit of a necessity as he grows older, it also reinforces the fact that Youssou is one of the world's great singers, capable of wrapping and communicating emotion in a note or phrase -- even if you don't understand a word of Wolof (or French, since several of the pieces, like his version of "Il N'Ya Pas D'Amour Heureux," are in French). And when he does break into English, on "Look This Way" and "Africa, Dream Again," it's not the ridiculous, gushing lyrics that have appeared on some of his more recent discs. Yes, there are too many lush keyboards for it to fully qualify as a true acoustic release, and the low-key tamas juddering across "Yaru" do sometimes make you wish the band would kick into high gear, but overall this is N'Dour's most focused and accomplished disc in a long time. Maybe it's a new path, maybe it's a breathing space while he decides what to do next, maybe he just wanted a change. Whatever the reason, it works. ~ Chris Nickson

Africa - Released April 5, 2019 | Naive


Pop - Released June 2, 1992 | Columbia

N'Dour's ongoing quest for a truly global African pop spurs his smoothest -- you might say most homogenized -- disc yet, one that basks in assimilation and transformation. He is becoming to mbalax what Milton Nascimento is to Brazilian, which means a gain in sophistication but a certain loss of directness. ~ Bob Tarte

World - Released November 3, 2015 | International Center of Sports

Download not available