Music review: Youssou N’Dour

Senegalese singer and musician Youssou N'Dour makes a rare UK performance
Senegalese singer and musician Youssou N'Dour makes a rare UK performance
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Despite his superstar status at home in Senegal and on the world music stage, Youssou N’Dour mounted a very simple show compared to some of the audio-visual spectaculars in the EIF’s music strand, without even a backdrop to mask the unused bank of choir stalls behind his band, and it seemed that it would be hard work to bring the party to such initially polite proceedings.

Star rating: ****
Venue: Usher Hall

But it transpired that N’Dour didn’t need any bells and whistles to get the crowd moving.

A guest Fulani dancer had a shamanic effect on the fans, and the aisles started to fill up with gyrating bodies, never to be empty again.

N’Dour is literally an elder statesman, having been appointed Senegal’s minister for culture a few years ago.

Clearly, he has delegation skills – he was happy to let his all-business band settle into their groove, with his percussionist in the role of MC, while he concentrated on putting heart and soul into his beautifully modulated beseeching vocals, whether he was backed by a smooth Afro pop sound, such as his international hit 7 Seconds and dignified anthem New Africa, or one of the invariably more satisfying choppy rhythmic dance numbers.