Skip to main content

Youssou N’Dour & Fathy Salama Orchestra

From Senegal: Youssou N’Dour & from Cairo: Fathy Salama Orchestra

If any performer can attain the universal popularity enjoyed by Bob Marley, it's Youssou, a singer with a voice so extraordinary that the history of Africa seems locked inside it.” - Rolling Stone

“Youssou pour le President!” is the cry that accompanies him on the streets of his native Dakar, and twenty years after his arrival onto the international stage with his band Super Etoile, Youssou N’Dour’s luminescence remains undimmed. 2004 marks a new epoch in the evolution of Africa’s brightest star, looking back to his roots and forward to a tolerant world with Egypt (Nonesuch), a spiritual journey that travels to the heart of his Muslim faith.

Youssou has always been a traveller between worlds. As a Sufi devotee, he is a troubadour of the unique music and culture of Africa’s griot storytellers. As an innovator, he has forged the potent sound of mbalax, that heady brew of traditional Wolof rhythms, exultant praise singing and Western instrumentation that so galvanised African music in the early 80s. As a global pop icon, with albums like The Guide yielding radio hits like 7 Seconds, his 1994 collaboration with Neneh Cherry. And as a voice for Africa on the international stage, his keen intellect put to the service of UNESCO.

Here is an artist who understands the world, and Africa’s role as an emissary between East and West. It’s a concept that finds profound expression on Egypt, his remarkable collaboration with Cairo’s finest orchestral musicians under the baton of leading Egyptian film composer Fathy Salama. Twenty musicians take to the stage to venerate the caliphs, saints and seers of the Senegalese way of Islam, brought to life by the sensuality of Arabic music, and its exquisite instruments. Oud, rababa fiddle, kawala flute and arghul oboe add the rich colours to N’Dour’s plaintive tenor, suspended above a bed of serene oriental percussion.

This is music to lift the soul, and more. Youssou’s Egypt is a personal document, preaching tolerance and understanding through a medium that transcends the discordant words and actions that inflame the modern world. Vote Youssou!

Youssou N'Dour:

Youssou N’Dour lead vocals
Kabou Guèye, Souka Guèye & Mama Guèye backing vocals
Babou Laye kora / Mbaye Dieye Faye Senegalese percussion
Beugue Fallou Ensemble Senegalese percussion

The Fathy Salama Orchestra:

Fathy Salama arranger and conductor
Yuri Kablotsky and Midhat Abd El Sameeh first violins
Mamdouh El Gibally oud (Arab lute)
Abdallah Helmy kawala (Egyptian oblique flute)
Mostafa Abd El Azeez arghul (Egyptian double-reed bamboo wind instrument)
Shaker rababa (two-stringed Arab fiddle)
Shibl magruna (Egyptian double-reed bamboo wind instrument)
Hasaneen Hindy mizmar (Egyptian double-reed bell-shaped wind instrument)
Ramadan Mansoor tabla (Egyptian hand drum)
Ayman Sidky doholla (Egyptian hand drum, bass tabla)
Ahmed El Gazar sagat (Egyptian hand cymbals)
Yaser Mal Allah various Arab Gulf percussion
Bisheer Ewees contrabass

Don’t miss out!

Subscribe to the IMC newsletter to keep up with the latest in Irish Jazz.

Sign up

Help us hold that note

Help support artists, and make the musical world in Ireland a richer place.