Youssou N’Dour, born 1959 in Dakar, is a Senegalese singer and percussionist.
In 2004, Rolling Stone described him as, in Senegal and much of Africa, “perhaps the most famous singer alive“.
He began performing at the age of 12. Within a couple of years he was performing regularly with the Star Band, Dakar’s most popular group in the early 1970s. In 1979, he formed his own ensemble, the Etoile de Dakar.
Youssou has collaborated with musicians Peter Gabriel, Axelle Red, Sting, Alan Stivell, Bran Van 3000, Neneh Cherry, Wyclef Jean, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman, Branford Marsalis, Ryuichi Sakamoto and others.
In July 1993, an African opera composed by N’Dour premiered at the Opera Bastille. He wrote and performed the official anthem of the 1998 FIFA World Cup with Axelle Red La Cour des Grands.
He won his first American Grammy Award (Best Contemporary World Music album) for his CD Egypt in 2005.
In 1985, he organized a concert for the release of Nelson Mandela. He was a featured performer in the 1988 worldwide Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour collaborating with Lou Reed to contribute a version of the Peter Gabriel song Biko. He has also worked with the United Nations and UNICEF and he started Project Joko to open internet cafés in Africa and to connect Senegalese communities around the world.
On 2 July 2005 he performed at three of the Live 8 concerts (London, Paris and at The Eden Project in Cornwall) with Dido.
He has also covered John Lennon’s Jealous Guy for the CD Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.
Listen to tracks featuring Youssou N’Dour
Extracts of tracks from Youssou N’Dour:
Bamba The Poet