Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: World Music, Pop
Youssou N'Dour, a superstar at home in Senegal and in most of Africa, possesses an astonishingly strong and supple high-tenor voice, and he writes tuneful, insightful songs about his fellow West Africans' transition from i... more »
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Youssou N'Dour, a superstar at home in Senegal and in most of Africa, possesses an astonishingly strong and supple high-tenor voice, and he writes tuneful, insightful songs about his fellow West Africans' transition from isolated rural villages to cosmopolitan big cities. The Guide (Wommat) includes several calculated enticements to lure an Anglo-American audience: a bilingual duet with hip-hop star Neneh Cherry on "Seven Seconds," a guest appearance by saxophonist Branford Marsalis on "Without a Smile," and a bilingual version of Bob Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom." The Marsalis and Dylan experiments work, while the Cherry one doesn't, but they're superfluous to the main focus of the album, which is N'Dour's shift from a bandleader to a singer-songwriter with a backing band. The infectious mbalax rhythms of Senegal are still there, but they're pushed down in the mix so the focus is on N'Dour's vocals. There are some missteps, like the simple-minded cheerleading of "Tourista" and "Love One Another," but for the most part N'Dour comes across as the Stevie Wonder of West Africa. --Geoffrey Himes
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A magnificent collaboration
The Stewman | Canada | 11/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this CD several years ago. I'd never heard N'Dour before then, but was intrigued by peter Gabriel's statement that N'Dour was the best vocalist alive. I shy away from absolute statements like the previous, but agree whole heartedly that Youssou N'Dour is ONE of the world's best singers. His vocal range may not immediately attract your attention, but repeated listens will surprise and satisfy many close listens. The duet with Nenah Cherry is one of the best songs recorded in the '90s. The social message positive, the groove eminently danceable, and the melody uplifting. The violin solo works! The other songs are less exceptional than 7 Seconds, but the message of hope and joy in life consistent (n.b How You Are). For all lovers of music which marries traditional sounds and instruments with modern recording values and styles. Admittedly, my love of 7 Seconds makes this CD a must have in my books, regardless of relative quality of the other tunes."
Good music, but not his or Senegal's best album.
Barbara J. Chaplin | Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada | 08/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoy this cd, but I don't love it. It's a pleasant listening experience, but there is no song on it that I would classify as among my all-time favorites.
N'Dour has a wonderful voice, well worth getting to know, and the quality of the playing is excellent. However, I believe that most people from Western countries who would buy this album are intrigued by music from Africa and want to try something different. Therefore it is the very fact that this album sounds quite a bit like Western pop that bothers me. I wish that the, to me, exotic African elements were more to the fore, and the everyday pop elements were less evident. If you also are interested in this singer because you want to listen to something out of the ordinary, I would suggest you buy instead a cd by Cheikh Lo, who is also from Senegal. Lo's music is more obviously unusual, and yet very beautiful. One of N'Dour's less Westernized albums would also be more appropriate."
Moving, deep, fiery - touches many senses and emotions
(5 out of 5 stars)
"moving, fiery, deep - touches many senses and emotions"