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We close our season in majestic fashion with one of the great artists of our time, Senegalese singer YOUSSOU N’DOUR. Described as an “arresting tenor, with prophetic authority” (The New York Times) and “perhaps the most famous singer alive [in Africa],” (Rolling Stone) N’Dour helped develop mbalax, a propulsive, soulful genre of Senegalese music. At the age of 12, he began performing with the Star Band, one of Dakar’s prominent bands of the early ’70s, before going on to form his own Latin-influenced dance band, Étoile de Dakar, which properly launched his career as Senegal’s first pop star. His world travels have included collaborations with Bruce Springsteen, Wyclef Jean, Paul Simon, and Branford Marsalis, among others.
N’Dour has a long history of activism and civic duty. In 1985, he organized a concert to free Nelson Mandela, and worked with UNICEF and the United Nations to open internet cafes across Africa and connect Senegalese communities worldwide. In recent years, he has served stints as both Senegal’s Minister of Tourism and as Special Adviser to the President. We are honored to invite such an important musical mind and public figure to our stage. Malian kora master YACOUBA SISSOKOplays while the sun sets.