After a long wait, Bluesfest Touring can announce that Youssou N’Dour will play the Sydney Opera House and Hamer Hall in Melbourne at the end of March 2018. The king of African Music will bring his world music block party, backed by his legendary 12-piece band Le Super Étoile de Dakar, acrobatic dancers and over three decades of funk-fused hits to our shores.
Emerging as the ‘Michael Jackson of Senegal’ at just 12 years of age, N’Dour’s innovative pairing of decisive political polemics with the revving rhythms of Mbalax beats has seen him tour the world with Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel and Sting, while running for president and campaigning for Nelson Mandela alike. Following the success of N’Dour’s breakthrough album ‘The Guide (Wommat)’ (1994), he shifted his focus to matters in his native Senegal. He established a media conglomerate that incorporated a recording studio, record label, radio station, newspaper and a chain of internet cafes. In 1999, he returned to the international music scene by organising the Great African Ball, which was an all-night concert and dance party held in New York City and Paris, held annually through to 2008. N’Dour’s highly acclaimed album ‘Egypt’ earned him a Grammy award in 2005 for Best Contemporary World Music Album. In 2008, the documentary titled I Bring What I Love shared a musically and spiritually turbulent period in N’Dour’s life and ultimately calls for a more tolerant practice of Islam.
N’Dour has further Africanised, and updated, the Mbalax sounds by adding sabra drums to the ensemble and distributing their rhythms between keyboards and electric guitars to create a more iconic sound. Through time, N’Dour has also increasingly addressed pressing political and social issues such as apartheid and the need to uphold African cultural identity in an interconnected world. Leading joyous celebrations of African identity, heritage and hope on the world stage, N’Dour’s siren-like singing is an ecstatic voice for change that first broke through with the duet ‘7 Seconds’, alongside Neneh Cherry, selling millions worldwide.
N’Dour’s voice remains as powerful and relevant as ever and Bluesfest Touring is delighted to share it with Australian audiences.
When & Where: Hamer Hall, Melbourne – March 31 2018. Tickets via www.bluesfesttouring.com.au
Written by Daniel Jubb