Youssou N'Dour

Youssou N'Dour is undoubtedly one the most famous African artists. Singing since the age of 12, he started his musical career with the Star Band de Dakar. By 1979, he established his own group, the Etoile de Dakar. Due to a split-up, the group continued as Super Etoile as of 1981. They became the most succesful outfit in Dakar, with a constant production of albums for the Senegalese market throughout nearly three decades.

It was with the same band that Youssou gained first international recognition through the album « Immigrés ». The rock-solid instrumental powerhouse of Super Etoile and Youssou's signature tenor voice brought him the attention of Paul Simon, on whose album Graceland he featured, and especially of Peter Gabriel. He toured extensively with Gabriel, and with the 1988 Amnesty International tour with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, and Tracy Chapman. Youssou N'Dour started producing records for international audiences and on major labels, such as the albums « The Lion » (1989), « Set » (1990) and « The Guide / Wommat » with considerable success.
Internationally, the success of the single « Seven Seconds » with Neneh Cherry has been of pivotal importance in his career. But his influence on Senegalese music and African music in general has been bigger than that, he has a lasting impact on how the Western world regards Africans and African music. Now, he is seen as the most prolific and influential African artist, who is able to remain successful both in Africa as on the international level.

Youssou N'Dour adapted his music on CDs to Western listeners, but he never forgot his roots. He still lives in Dakar, where he owns a recording studio since 1991 (Xippi), a record company since 1995 (Jololi) but also a media firm (Futurs Médias) with a radio station, a newspaper and since 2010 also a TV station. He is equally involved in humanitarian issues. In 1985, he organised a concert in Dakar for the liberation of Nelson Mandela and over the years he was active for various international organisations UNICEF, FAO and Amnesty International.

In 2012, his candidature for the presidential elections was rejected by the Supreme Court, but under the new Government he became Minister of Culture and Tourism in April 2012, and then since October 2012 Minister of Tourism. Under a new Prime Minister, he became Special Adviser to the President in September 2013.

Youssou N'Dour
Youssou N'Dour  

Some key members of Super Etoile:
Jimi Mbaye guitar;
Habib Faye (19652018) bass;
Assane Thiam tama (talking drum)
Ousseynou 'Ouzin' N'Diaye vocals, backing vocals - left for health reasons
Rhane Diallo vocals, saxophone
Nicolas Menheim vocals
Daouda Gassama († July 2010, illness) guitar
Pape Oumar Ngom rhythm guitar
Kabou Gueye guitar, bass
Maguette Dieng timbales, drums
M'Baye Dieye Faye percussion, tumba
Alla (Abdoulaye) Seck (* 1955, Gossas (Kaolack region), † 14 June 1987, typhoid fever): vocals, animation, dance;
Marc Samb († 1982, accident): trumpet;

Born: October 1, 1959, in Dakar
Style: mbalax

International releases:
Title Year Label Remarks
Mbalax 2021 Universal Music Africa CD / digital download
History 2019 Naive CD / digital download
Africa Rekk 2016 Jive Epic CD / digital download
From Senegal to the World 2012 Nascente NSDCD032 2CD, compilation 80s classics & rarities
Dakar-Kingston 2010 Emarcy/Universal CD
I Bring what I Love 2010 Nonesuch Music from the Motion Picture
Rokku Mi Rokka (Give and Take) 2007 WEA Music/Nonesuch 7559-79961-8 CD + bonus CD
Rokku Mi Rokka (Give and Take) 2007 WEA Music/Nonesuch 7559-79974-5 CD
Badou 2007 MPG 74075 Compilation of mid-1980s songs
Egypt 2004 Nonesuch 7559-79694-2 Int'l release of Senegalese album Sant
7 Seconds: The Best Of Youssou N'Dour 2004 Legacy 508496-2 (Sony/Columbia) Compilation
Nothing's in Vain (Coono du réér) 2002 Nonesuch 79654
Youssou N'Dour et ses Amis 2001 Editions Jade 198237-2 Also feat. Boubacar Mendy, Ablaye Mbaye and Viviane
Birth of a Star: 11 Giant Dakar Hits 2001 Manteca MANTCD025 Compilation 1980s recordings
Joko, from village to town 2000 Small Records
The Best of the 80s 1998 Celluloid 67003-2
The Guide/Wommat 1994 Columbia 476508-2
Eyes Open 1992 40 Acres and a Mule
Set 1990 Virgin CDV2634
The Lion 1989 Virgin CDV2584
Nelson Mandela 1985 Magnetic/Pathé CD / LP
Djamil/Inédits 84/85 1986 Celluloid CEL 6809 LP
Immigrés/Bitim Rew 1985 Celluloid CEL 6709 LP
Senegalese releases:
Title Year Label Remarks
Respect 2018 Prince Arts CD / digital download
Seeni Valeurs 2017 Youssou N'Dour / Jive Epic CD / digital download
Mballax Dafay Wax 2011 Prod. Youssou N'Dour
Spécial fin d'année 2009 2010 Xippi
Bercy 2008 - le Grand Bal 2008 Jololi
Alsaama Day 2007 Jololi
Bercy 2005 2005 Jololi
Dolli Sant 2005 Jololi Album Sant/Egypt + one new track
Bercy 2004 Vol. 2 2004 Jololi
Bercy 2004 2004 Jololi
Sant 2003 Jololi
Le grand bal Paris-Bercy 2003 2003 Jololi
Céy You 2003 Jololi
Le Grand Bal Bercy 2001 Vol. 2 2001 Jololi YND CD009
Le Grand Bal Bercy 2001 Vol. 1 2001 Jololi YND CD008
Ba Tay 2001 Jololi YND CD007
Rewmi 1999 Jololi
St. Louis 1997 Jololi YND CD004
Lii ! 1996 Jololi
Re-issues of Super Etoile de Dakar recordings:
Title Year Label Remarks
Youssou N'Dour et le Super Etoile
de Dakar - Vol.4
2003 Touba/Mélodie 02554-2
Youssou N'Dour et le Super Etoile
de Dakar - Vol.3
2003 Touba/Mélodie 02553-2
Youssou N'Dour et le Super Etoile
de Dakar - Vol.2
2002 Touba/Mélodie 02552-2
Youssou N'Dour et le Super Etoile
de Dakar - Vol.1
2001 Touba/Mélodie 02551-2 1982 recordings
Re-issues of Etoile de Dakar recordings:
Title Year Label Remarks
Once Upon A Time in Senegal
- Birth of Mbalax 1979-81
2010 Stern's STCD 3054-55 2CD
Rough Guide to Etoile de Dakar 2002 World Music Network RGNET1109CD
Volume 4: Khaley Etoile 1998 Stern's STCD 3014 1981 & 1982 recordings
Volume 3: Lay Suma Lay 1996 Stern's STCD 3012
Volume 2: Thiapathioly 1994 Stern's STCD 3006 1980 recordings
Volume 1: Absa Gueye 1993 Stern's STCD 3004 1979 recordings

Page added July 1998