Monday, December 12, 2011

Yoυssoυ N'Doυя - Thε Lioи (1989)

A well known protege and musical friend to Peter Gabriel, progenitor of the Mbalax genre of dance music and Senegal's most famous musical artist of all time, you'd be hard pressed to find a more influential "World" music artist in the last thirty years than Yoυssoυ N'Doυя. Comparable to the magnificent Fela Kuti as far as artistic eclecticism and vision goes, 1989's Thε Lion was the first taste that many people outside the African subcontinent got of this fella's pop sensibility, partly thanks to the contributions and production help of not only the former Genesis vocalist himself, but David Sancious (of Bruce Springsteen and Sting fame) as well.

Needless to say, Mr. N'Dour has a helluva set of pipes, and uses his voice creatively throughout the nine songs here. From standards like 'Old Tucson' to the ethereal yet compellingly eerie 'Macoy', percussive arrangements frame smoky sounding keyboards and occasionally punchy basslines and guitar work to make even the barest of threads vibrant and full of atmosphere.

Overall, this is a lucious little record that brings a lot of fun to the table, even if you don't speak Senegalese or emphasize with his socio-economic observations. Fans of anything off the beaten path, however, will devour this in a single, auditory gulp.

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