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Youssou N'Dour: Dakar-Kingston

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Label: Decca Records
Released: 2010.07.12
Category: World Music
Producer(s): Tyrone Downie, Youssou N'Dour
Media type: CD
Web address: www.youssou.com
Appears with:
Purchase date: 2012
Price in €: 1,00

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

[1] Marley (Tyrone Downie / Youssou N'Dour / Yusuf) - 3:31
[2] Medina (Youssou N'Dour) - 4:04
[3] Joker (Patrice Bart / Youssou N'Dour / Pascal Obispo) - 4:13
[4] Bololene (Max Calo / Mouhamadou Gueye / Youssou N'Dour) - 4:20
[5] Bamba (Mamadou Mbaye / Youssou N'Dour / Thomas Tome) - 5:59
[6] Black Woman (Tyrone Downie / Youssou N'Dour) - 4:39
[7] Survie (Habib Faye / Youssou N'Dour / Jean-Philippe Rykiel) - 3:33
[8] Africa Dream Again (Youssou N'Dour / Pascal Obispo) - 3:22
[9] Diarr Diarr (Hakim Abdulsamad / Youssou N'Dour) - 4:52
[10] Don't Walk Away (Cameron McVey / Youssou N'Dour / Michael Power / Jonathan Sharp) - 4:00
[11] Bagn Len (Mouhamadou Gueye / Youssou N'Dour) - 3:51
[12] Leteuma (Mody Ba / Mouhamadou Gueye / Youssou N'Dour) - 3:44
[13] Pitche Me (Mouhamadou Gueye / Youssou N'Dour) - 4:34

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l

Youssou N'Dour - Vocals, Co-producer

Uzziah "Steaky" Thomson - Keyboards
Earl "China" Smith - Guitar
Oumar Sow - Guitar
Peter Cole - Guitar
Michael Fletcher - Bass
Dean Fraser Cannon - Saxophone
Ronald "Nambo" Robinson - Trombone
David Madden - Trumpet
Dwight Richards - Trumpet
Shaun "Mark" Samson - Drums
Babacar Faye - Percussion
"Bongo Herman" Davis - Percussion
El Hadj Faye - Percussion
Assane Thiam - Talking Drum
Petit To Kouate - Talking Drum
Yatma Thiam - Talking Drum

Mutabaruka - Vocals on [1]
Morgan Heritage - Jamaican Reggae Group on [10]

Cali Kamga - Backing Vocals
Celine "Celikitoko" Cheynut - Backing Vocals
Julia Sarr - Backing Vocals
Olyza Zamati - Backing Vocals

Tyrone Downie - Producer
Timour Cardenas - Co-producer
Gaston Madeira - Executive Producer
Michelle Lahana - Executive Producer
Timour Cardenas - Executive Producer
Carlos Allwood - Engineer
Prince Ndiaga Ndour - Engineer
Timour Cardenas - Engineer, Mixing
Alexis Bardinet - Mastering
Jennifer Quard - Assistant Mixing, Assistant Engineer
1er Mondays - Assistant Engineer
Element-S - Cover
Youri Lenquette - Photography

 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

A typically international project from the Senegalese star.

With its Dakar – Kingston title and an opening track simply called Marley, it would seem that this album is designed as a tribute to Jamaica’s king of reggae music. Upon further investigation, the king of African music (well, one of them) has elected to pay homage to Bob Marley and the Wailers in a less obvious fashion.

Youssou N’Dour is revisiting songs from his own back catalogue, picking representatives from five older discs. The original material here is in the minority. He’s been recording in Marley’s old Tuff Gong studio in Kingston, with Wailer keyboardist Tyrone Downie at the production helm. There were also sessions in Dakar and Paris, so this is a typically international project.

Downie has had a significant input in the new reggae-fied arrangements of the songs, and has gathered together a creamy crop of veteran players. Where else would it be possible to hear the guitar combination of Oumar Sow, from N’Dour’s regular combo, and Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, from almost every 1970s reggae album conceivable? Also on hand are saxophonist Dean Fraser and percussionists Bongo Herman and Sticky Thompson, though the disc’s booklet manages to misspell most of their names.

Marley features N’Dour very directly addressing Bob’s legacy, assisted by the raspingly intoned verses of Jamaican poet Mutabaruka. This one song succinctly details the mission at hand. It’s a gentle reggae lope, highly poppy with its little synth worms and harmonious backing vocals.

N’Dour often sounds ungainly when singing in English, but his accent does possess a certain charm. Before too long, he’s back into Wolof lines, doing an electro-dancehall strut to Medina. He’s back to English for Joker, joined by a guesting Patrice. Bamba is extremely catchy, making a brisk stride, with clipping keyboard punctuations, the horn section adding extra bounce. Black Woman is the epitome of N’Dour’s simple and approachable stance here. His mixture of Senegalese mbalax and Jamaican reggae is finely balanced throughout the course of this entire disc, best showcased on Diarr Diarr.

Morgan Heritage guests on Don’t Walk Away, the first of two tracks that feature some eerie harmonica trilling. Usually, this role would be tackled by a melodica, but these parts are surely taken by a mouth-harp. N’Dour saves his best soaring vocal delivery for the closing Pitch Me, a tightly-woven skank that boasts a fulsome bassline, detailed percussion and a rich weave of voices.

Martin Longley, 2010
BBC Review

One of world's greatest singers heads to Jamaica for Afro-reggae fusionMotherland reggae is nothing new. But Senegal's Youssou N'Dour does it right on this pilgrimage, convening veteran Jamaican players — journeyman guitarist Earl Chinna Smith and ex-Wailer keyboardist Tyrone Downie — while bringing his own music to the table. The result blends the signature chatter of talking drums with reggae's almighty one-drop groove in service of N'Dour's voice, a precisely modulated soul instrument that has never sounded better. The album's undistinguished vocal cameos are doomed by comparison, and the arrangements veer toward the glossy. N'Dour pays respect to his heroes: "Bamba" is a praise song to African Sufi leader Cheick Ahmadou Bamba. Yet it's telling that the closing cover of Marley's "Redemption Song" doesn't take off until the Senegalese rhythms kick in at the end. Ultimately, the fusions here are the greatest tributes to reggae's immortality.

Will Hermes  - June 7, 2011

There have been some fine reggae musicians to emerge from sub-Saharan Africa (Alpha Blondy and the late Lucky Dube chief among them), but African reggae often suffers from being a bit soft in the middle, and insufficiently hooky. But with Dakar-Kingston, the hugely popular Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour has managed to create a powerful new sound that blends the best aspects of his West African heritage (subtle and multilayered percussion instruments, heartbreakingly beautiful cascading guitar lines) with contributions by some of the best reggae musicians in the world (Earl "Chinna" Smith, Tyrone Downie, Dean Fraser, Bongo Herman, etc.). Alternating between English, French, and Wolof, he sings original songs that address social and cultural issues relevant to his homeland specifically, and to the African diaspora generally; he pays requisite and rather banal tribute to Bob Marley ("Marley" would have been less trite if it weren't for the list of song titles it includes), and he celebrates the spread of African musical influences throughout the world. There's some ska ("Bamba"), some excellent lovers rock ("Black Woman"), and a very fine adaptation of the "sufferer's anthem" concept to particularly African concerns ("Don't Walk Away"). And at the very end, there's another Marley tribute, this one much more effective than the first: when you notice "Redemption Song" on the program it's hard not to sigh. Does the world really need another moist and overly earnest cover of that inimitable Marley composition? But N'Dour's version is different. It's not really reggae, but then neither was Marley's original; it's a deeply personal statement rendered through another man's words in a musical style that consists entirely of preexisting musical elements that nevertheless add up to a unique musical result. In that sense, N'Dour's version of "Redemption Song" can stand as a microcosm of this album generally.

Rick Anderson - All Miúsic Guide

Youssou N’Dour hat eine dieser Stimmen, die man, wenn man sie einmal gehört hat, nie wieder vergisst. Seine Duette mit Peter Gabriel Shaking The Tree und Neneh Cherry 7 Seconds machten ihn in der gesamten Popwelt bekannt. Jetzt hat der charismatische Youssou N’Dour einem seiner musikalischen Vorbilder ein ganzes Album gewidmet: Bob Marley. Dessen Musik hatte Youssou N’Dour als Jugendlicher kennen und lieben gelernt. Doch das Album Dakar - Kingston ist kein simpler Tribut an den verstorbenen Heroen. Vielmehr betrachtet Youssou sich selbst und sein Werk hier im Spiegel des Reggaes. Einige der Titel hat N’Dour schon auf früheren Alben vorgestellt. Diesmal gibt er ihnen aber mit One-Drop-Rhythmen einen Reggae-Einschlag. Als Gaststars präsentiert Youssou u.a. das afrikanisch-stämmige, deutsche Künstlerpaar Patrice und Ayo.


Auf seinem neuesten Album »Dakar – Kingston« widmet sich Youssou N’Dour erstmals dezidiert dem Reggae. Das gesamte Album ist eine Hommage an Bob Marley, dessen Musik der Senegalese als 13-jähriger kennen und lieben lernte. Doch es ist kein simpler Tribut an den verstorbenen Heroen.

Einige der Titel dieses Albums hat Youssou N’Dour schon auf früheren Alben vorgestellt. Diesmal gibt er ihnen aber mit den One-Drop-Rhythmen einen Reggae-Einschlag. Youssou N’Dour, der 2005 für das Album »Égypte« seinen ersten Grammy erhielt, betrachtet sich selbst und sein Werk im Reggae-Spiegel.


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