Youssou N'Dour Rough Guide to Youssou N'Dour & Etoile de Dakar
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- Released: July 29, 2002
- Originally Released: 2002
- Label: World Music Network
Rolling Stone - 2/6/03, pp.64-54 stars out of 5 - "...Etoile took Senegalese music into new, apocalyptic territory, cementing the feverish rhythmic style known as mbalax....Music brimming with ecstasy and lust..."
Dirty Linen - 8/03, p.83"...N'Dour's music centers on his own astounding voice, often with other singers weaving separate vocal lines into the back..."
- 1.Absa Gueye
- 4.Diokhama Say Ne Ne
- 5.Lay Suma Lay
- 7.Yalaye Dogal
Photographer: Graeme Ewens.
It's widely accepted wisdom that the early, rawer material of Youssou N'Dour had an edge he's never been able to recapture since becoming a major international star. Certainly his more recent studio recordings lack the urgency and energy of the material here, which was recorded in the early '80s when he was the frontman of ?toile de Dakar, before personnel splits left him heading up the new Super ?toile de Dakar and starting to make his first global inroads. The Cuban influence that had pervaded Senegalese music was still apparent at the beginning of N'Dour's career, and it can be heard in tracks like "Absa Gueye" and "Jalo," while the epic "Thiapathioly," a big West African hit, shows the start of the transition to a more individual sound, the juddering, polyrhythmic mbalax, with its sabar drums cutting across the beat. By the time the last couple of tracks from the new band appear, the group had turned into a powerful, unstoppable outfit with N'Dour's trademark high, keening griot voice the central instrument, since he was no longer sharing the spotlight with the two other vocalists, who'd left to form ?toile 2000. As an insight into N'Dour's relatively early development -- he was in his early twenties during this period -- this shows him gaining in confidence and ability, both as a singer and a writer, slowly nailing down the percussive mbalax style that would bring him fame and developing his charisma in front of a band. ~ Chris Nickson