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Youssou N'Dour: Nothing's in Vain (Coono du Réér)

 A l b u m   D e t a i l s

Label: Nonesuch Records
Released: 2002.10.22
Category: World Music
Producer(s): Youssou N'Dour, Habib Faye
Rating: *********. (9/10)
Media type: CD
Web address: www.youssou.com
Appears with:
Purchase date: 2002.12.14
Price in €: 16,99

 S o n g s ,   T r a c k s

[1] Tan Bi (Heat, Breeze, Tenderness) (Faye/Guèye/N'Dour) - 3:59
[2] Moor Ndaje (Mr. Everywhere) (Faye/Guèye/N'Dour) - 4:14
[3] Li Ma Weesu (As in a Mirror) (Calo/Faye/Guèye/N'Dour) - 3:54
[4] Genné (For Those Displaced) (Faye/Guèye/N'Dour) - 4:09
[5] La Femme Est l'Avenir de l'Amour (Women... (Faye/Florence/Guèye/N'Dour) - 3:50
[6] Mbëggéél Noonu La (Because Love's Like... (Faye/Guèye/N'Dour) - 4:58
[7] Il N'Ya a Pas d'Amour Heureux (There Is No (Aragon/Brassens) - 2:15
[8] Sagal Ko (Honor Her) (Faye/Guèye/N'Dour) - 3:35
[9] C'est l'Amour (It's Love) (Calo/Faye/N'Dour) - 3:43
[10] Doole (Show Your True Mettle) (Dieng/Faye/Guèye/N'Dour) - 5:49
[11] So Many Men (Florence/N'Dour/Obispo/Stoner) - 5:13
[12] Yaru (The Makings of Respect) (Faye/Guèye/N'Dour) - 4:15
[13] Africa, Dream Again (N'Dour/Obispo) - 3:13

 A r t i s t s ,   P e r s o n n e l

YOUSSOU N'DOUR - Vocals, Engineer

HABIB FAYE - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards
BABACAR "MBaye N'Diaye" FAYE - Percussion
JACO LARGENT - Percussion
RÉGIS GIZAVO - Accordion
PASCAL OBISPO - Guitar, Vocals, Producer

OUZIN NDIAYE - Background Vocals
HELENE FAUSSART - Background Vocals
CELIA FAUSSART - Background Vocals
VIVIANE N'DOUR - Background Vocals
CRESCENDO - Background Vocals
SOKHNA CISSOKO - Background Vocals

DAVID BITHER - Executive Producer
MICHELLE LAHANA - Executive Producer
THOMAS ROME - Executive Producer, Translation
VOLODIA - Engineer, Mixing
NDIAGA NDOUR - Engineer, Mixing
ELISE CHAMBERON - Assistant Engineer, Mixing Assistant
GREG CALBI - Mastering

 C o m m e n t s ,   N o t e s

2002 CD Nonesuch 79654

The traditional acoustic instruments such as the West African folk harp (kora), the Senegalwse lute (xalam) and violin (riti) are featured side-by-side with Senegalese percussion (sabar) and the familiar sound of chattering guitars. With a range of instrumental color more striking than ever, bouncing polyrhythms and soaring vocals that are among the most assured of his career. Nonesuch. 2002.

The "Prince of Africa" and Friend of Peter Gabriel Offers 14 Rhythmic Gems with Help from Pascal Obispo and Les Nubians.

There's been a back-to-acoustic-roots trend among African artists recently, and even the big names don't seem exempt. Salif Keita's done it, and here Youssou N'Dour's at it — which proves to be no bad thing. His recent output has been quite schizophrenic, divided between albums aimed at a Western audience and those for his native Senegal, with the more hardcore m'balax sound that made him popular in the first place reserved for the African releases. While the easy melodies of Nothing's in Vain (Coono Du Réér) place it far more within the Afro-pop category than much of his previous work, it's still a real gem, bringing in traditional musicians alongside his band, as on the opening "Tan Bi," which works gorgeously, the harp-like kora intersecting with N'Dour's rhythm section. The keening griot wail which has typified so much of his work is absent here, allowing for more subtlety of infection and tone. While that might be a bit of a necessity as he grows older, it also reinforces the fact that Youssou is one of the world's great singers, capable of wrapping and communicating emotion in a note or phrase — even if you don't understand a word of Wolof (or French, since several of the pieces, like his version of "Il N'Ya Pas D'Amour Heureux," are in French). And when he does break into English, on "Look This Way" and "Africa, Dream Again," it's not the ridiculous, gushing lyrics that have appeared on some of his more recent discs. Yes, there are too many lush keyboards for it to fully qualify as a true acoustic release, and the low-key tamas juddering across "Yaru" do sometimes make you wish the band would kick into high gear, but overall this is N'Dour's most focused and accomplished disc in a long time. Maybe it's a new path, maybe it's a breathing space while he decides what to do next, maybe he just wanted a change. Whatever the reason, it works.

Chris Nickson - All Music Guide
© 1992 - 2002 AEC One Stop Group, Inc.

These days, Youssou N'Dour's Western releases seem to have more in common with florid '70s pop than his signature mbalax sound. This stunningly gifted singer is vastly overqualified for such uncomplicated material, and his rootsy acoustic backup band is repeatedly compromised by glaringly out-of-place programmed drums and synth patches. Most of the tunes were composed by N'Dour, but the set list also includes a chanson by Georges Brassens plus a cloying duet with French pop star Pascal Obispo. Why? Debates about authenticity are useless and demeaning, but N'Dour is clearly underestimating his potential non-African audiences. Meanwhile, longtime listeners still crave the dangerous beauty, visceral thrills, and ornate, jagged time signatures that characterize his Senegalese output. En passant, it is worth noting that Olatunji, Miriam Makeba, and Cesaria Evora all achieved lasting international fame by providing an irresistible alternative to the prevailing status quo, not more of the same in another language.

Christina Roden - Amazon.com

Vom guten alten Mbalax mit elektrifizierten Gitarren und Bläsersektionen ist Afrikas Superstar Youssou N'Dour seinen Weg gegangen bis zum Spagat zwischen Kassetten für den Markt im Senegal und hochpolierten CDs für den europäisch-amerikanischen Basar. Joko kam mit heftigen Computerbeats und viel westlicher Schützenhilfe zum Millennium heraus, Ba Tay versammelte zuletzt senegalesische Produktionen. Einige Tracks dieses Albums nahm Youssou nun unter anderem für Nothing's In Vain neu auf. Das ist überaus abwechslungsreich geraten und entfaltet sich in ungewöhnlich entspannter Atmosphäre. Ganz auf afrikanische Instrumente konzentrieren sich einige Songs, andere setzen auf wirklich entspannte und sensibel programmierte Beats - kaum Dancefloor-Kracher wie bei Joko. Ein Chanson von Brassens macht inmitten der eigenen Songs, die Youssou mit seinen Homies in Dakar geschrieben hat, einfach nur Spaß, während eine Kooperation mit Pascal Obispo ein wenig in Richtung Neneh Cherry schielt. Das geht in Ordnung, der alte Hit mit den sieben Sekunden lässt sich aber nicht wiederholen. Youssou N'Dour wirkt entspannter und kreativer als auf manchen anderen Scheiben der letzten Jahre. Mancher mag angesichts der stilistischen Vielfalt dieses Werks von Orientierungslosigkeit reden, aber hier hat der Maestro aus Dakar endlich den Spagat überwunden. Fragt sich nur, weshalb der Wanderer zwischen den Welten immer noch Songs wie "Africa, Dream Again" zum besten gibt, dessen Message er doch längst nicht mehr glaubhaft vertreten kann.

Uli Lemke - Amazon.de

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