Egypt

COMPOSERS: Youssou N’Dour
LABELS: eastwest
PERFORMER: Youssou N’Dour (voice), etc
CATALOGUE NO: 7559-79694-2

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A scholarly tribute to the Sufi saints of Senegal and an investigation of Muslim bonds across the African continent, Youssou N’dour’s latest creative turn is about the sublime in spirit as well as sound.

The album comes with exhaustive background notes about the intellectuals, teachers and fighters he praises, and the musical setting is equally exploratory.

As well as kora and percussion there’s the Fathy Salama Orchestra of oud, rabab, violins, basses, woodwind and more percussion. Salama’s arrangements are sensitive and light, to make for a sharing rather than a confrontation.

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Through it all runs the ethereal virtuosity and intense flights of N’Dour himself as he responds to both musical traditions and, as ever, reaches out to his global audience while perhaps opening their minds a little.