Melodies from His Motherland

Even when Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour is off globetrotting, he doesn’t forget his peeps. Take for example a 2002 performance at a Madrid amphitheater, where he noticed that a group of poor Senegalese immigrants was trying to catch a glimpse of the show atop a dumpster outside. He sent them a Wolof chant and waited for their excited reply, then cheered with them in Spanish

Many people in his own country might never get a chance to see him live, but the positive messages on his latest album will certainly hit home through the transistor radio waves. On Give and Take, he digs deep into his linguistic and musical roots to praise Senegal’s rich cultural history. “How good it feels to be with family/Praise to those who braved the kitchen heat to feed us/The grateful rabbit should thank the bird for the fruits at the bottom of the tree,” he belts out in Wolof on the number “4-4-44.” Although most Miamians won’t know exactly what he’s Afro-popping off at the mouth about during tonight’s performance (we found the translation on the Internet), it won’t take but seven seconds to become inspired by his heartfelt music. Catch him at the Gusman Center, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami. The show begins at 8:00. Tickets cost $27 to $77. Call the Rhythm Foundation at 305-672-5202.
Fri., Nov. 16, 8 p.m., 2007
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Julienne Gage is a Miami-based anthropologist and journalist who has worked as a reporter and as a civil rights and international aid communications specialist in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. Her fieldwork has exposed her to many forms of cultural expression, and during her master’s in anthropology, she studied at Cuba’s Center for the Investigation and Development of Cuban Music.
Contact: Julienne Gage