Youssou N'Dour

Youssou N'Dour

African music in many ways is like metaphysical poetry: You've done well if you've read it and even better if you understand it. There are so many subsets to Africana that the term itself is washed out, but the immediacy of Youssou N'Dour's 2004 release, Egypt, brings an inspiring relevancy to the mix. Egypt eschews the more celebratory sounds of the African juju and high-life genres for a strings-dominated cycle of want and desperation where classical elements of the West meet the urgency of N'Dour's Islamic blessings. Egypt is sung in Wolof, the widely spoken language of N'Dour's Senegal, making the vocals an element unto their own. Like the best poetry, hearing Egypt live will be a challenge, but the reward will be its sustenance. It will resonate long after the echoes fade.

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