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Youssou N'Dour

Youssou N'Dour

Grammy Winner Youssou N'Dour is one of Africa's music pioneers, and has helped put African music on the world map over the past fifteen years.

Born in Senegal, his mother taught him the music and songs of the Wolof people, to whom his family belongs. He began to perform with music and drama groups at an early age in his home town in Daker, making his first public performance with a modern band in 1973. In 1975 he joined the Star Band, the house band at Dakar's most popular night club. With them, he experimented, melding Wolof music with western instruments, in a style called mbalax. In 1979 he formed his own band Etoile, revamping and renaming them Super Etoile de Dakar in 1982, and continuing to introduce new elements to his music, with lyrics from Wolof mythology and elements of contemporary life in Dakar.

In 1982 he released his first cassette for sale, and his popularity grew in Dakar as more cassettes were recorded. His albums Immigres and Nelson Mandela provided him with an international breakthrough and led to his collaboration with Peter Gabriel. Together they toured in 1987.

Youssou N'Dour now records for the world market, but holds onto his African routs by continuing to live in Senegal with his family, recording music specifically for his African audiences.

AMAZING GRACE marks Youssou's film debut, and he also collaborated with David Arnold to provide music for the film's soundtrack.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.

Youssou N'Dour Facts

BirthdayOctober 1, 1959 (61)
BirthplaceDakar, Senegal

Selected Filmography

Not available.