For more than 30 years the highly charismatic singer Youssou N'Dour has been at the forefront of Senegalese music, and is Africa's most celebrated combination of musician and statesman. His own brand of catchy dance music mbalax is now his country's dominant musical form, and has become super successful around the globe, turning Youssou into a worldwide superstar.
This latest disc, Dakar-Kingston, is something of a new departure - a reggae album. Though there is an obvious salute to Bob Marley including a new song called 'Hommage à Marley,' rather than a flat tribute Youssou Ndour has chosen to instead re-work some songs from his repertoire - 'Song is song. My experience is, if you have a good song, you can move in one direction or a different direction.' The album is a fantastic chance to hear these hits in a fresh way, through the reggae mirror. Tyrone Downie, the keyboard player with the Wailers with whom Youssou collaborated, says 'You've never before had Afro-Islamic melodies in roots reggae. That's something new. And it's great that an artist this big, with this longevity and talent, is making a traditional reggae album in the 21st century. Reggae, for young people, is historical music, it's like jazz. Youssou validates it, makes it timeless.'