I was lucky enough to be introduced to African music by people from
Most especially from my darlin’ collaborator Heather Maxwell Adou, who after growing up in Michigan spent high-school time in West Africa, then as a Peace Corps volunteer, then stayed on as a working musician. I learned a lot about music of
I also had the chance to see Youssou N’Dour’s band around 1990 in
Anyway, I’d seen Youssou on various videos, and had watched him blow Peter Gabriel off the stage singing guest vocals on In Your Eyes (with Gabriel’s happy assistance). We went down to see Youssou in KY, and this was the first time I’d ever seen a real African band: 10-12 players on stage, costumes swirling, fantastic virtuosity as the players casually switched from one instrument to another tune-by-tune, and the phenomenon of the animateur: the virtuoso dancer whose whole job is to dance, thereby “animating” the crowd to dash the band by showering them with money. It was an incredible show, largely featuring the material on The Lion.
Youssou was a child star in his native
Youssou has continued this full range of activities, building a state-of-the-art studio in Bamako and continuing to produce hit singles, which fuels everything else.One of the great West African musicians.